MAESIL JANGAJJI WITH WENDY JUN, GROWER
2 min read
This is our first year working with Wendy — a Korean-American grower who has spent the past 15 years organically cultivating maesil (Korean Plum) in the Mojave Desert, north of the San Bernardino Mountains. She grows four types of maesil — Chung, Hong, Bongo and Mokkael — swearing by the medicinal properties of their fermented plum extract.
She also enjoys making Maesil Jangajji — translated as plum pickle in Korean — from the young green fruit. She serves it as a ‘banchan’, or, a Korean side dish or small plate, eaten with cooked rice.
This recipe calls for Chung Maesil in their early, green phase. Hyper seasonal, their arrival is eagerly anticipated every year. Wendy will make 10lb batches at a time and even so, it always runs out quickly and the wait for next season’s pickled plum begins.
Ume Plums (Japanese plums) can be used as a substitute however, this Korean recipe is specifically built around the Chung variety.
500g Chung Maesil (unripe Korean plum) - can substitute unripe Ume plum. Fruit should be fresh and green.
A glass or ceramic vessel, cleaned and santized
1. Thoroughly wash fruit and clean stem end. Dry overnight.
2. Cut maesil away from the pit in wedges. Avoid bruised or scarred areas of the skin or flesh. (Wendy also gently pounds the maesil with a rubber mallet to break flesh away and then pulls off the remainder by hand/with a knife and roughly chops — an optional, more rustic approach).
3. Mix in sugar, reserving some to pour on top to finish.
4. Add maesil/sugar mixture to clean vessel.
5. Leave in a cool, dry place for at least 3-4 weeks.
6. After fermentation, strain pickled maesil from the juice. (This juice can be added to a batch of maesil extract if you have one already fermenting).
7. Enjoy plain or add Korean chile paste (Gochujang), sesame, soy, etc to taste.
Final results should be satisfyingly crunchy. Lasts up to 6 months refrigerated. If adding chile paste or other ingredients, eat within 2-3 weeks.
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