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The New But Old-Salt Replacement: Umeboshi Vinegar


Umeboshi vinegar aka ume plum vinegar is not the new kid on the ingredient list, especially to those familiar with the macrobiotic (a lifestyle and healing diet) way of eating, it’s more common in the Japanese culture. It is a dinner table staple and used in many of their vegetable dishes. I personally love to add it to my vegetable and soup dishes as well.

Believe it or not, when making turkey tacos for my family, (I’m vegan) I add a splash to the meat for seasoning, it adds a delicious hit. I was first introduced to it over 15 years ago when we were macrobiotic. I love it and have been a dedicated user ever since this is why I am simply sharing it here with you.

The flavor of this seasoning is so tasty, it can be a bit tangy, tart, and salty. It is known to be a Japanese pickled plum or apricot (depending on who you ask) the one’s from the village of Ryujin is known to be really special.

Many of the recipes created in my last cookbook, Shut Up and Cook! have been prepared with umeboshi vinegar. It has taken over my use of ‘salt’ for the most part. It requires no refrigeration and the shelf life seems to be pretty much longer than anything else in my kitchen cabinet.

While you are at home, cooking, and experimenting, open your seasoning repertoire and add a kick of this baby to your next home-cooked meal. See below for one of my favorites. Enjoy!

Home-Run Gazpacho

Serves 4


  • 3 vine tomatoes
  • 1/2 cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small handful of cilantro, plus more, minced, for garnish
  • 1 small handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or Sea Veg.

Method of Preparation:

  1. In a blender, add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, umeboshi vinegar, and sea salt or Sea Veg. Pulse two to three times. It should not be too thick and chunky, but try to keep a few chewable pieces in the mix. Give it a taste and adjust the salt according to your liking.
  2. Chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, divide among bowls, drizzle a bit of olive oil into each bowl, and garnish that bowl with a bit of cilantro.
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