Jun 4, 2018
I grew up with an apricot tree in the backyard and love them, but the season is short and it's not so easy to find them in Japan. It's a nostalgic taste so I end up buying bulk dried apricots on Amazon sometimes.
After seeing what looked like a tree full of ripe apricots (on someone's property), I thought I should keep an eye out for them. Especially the 'yaoya' or little fruit and veggie stands which often have local produce might have them if the timing is right. I think late May - early June is a little early for the season, but that's how things are moving this year.
I spotted this net for 350 yen, next to some ume (the tiny green plums used for umeboshi) for making umeshu and umezu and that made me so happy. They are a bit smaller than what I'm used to in supermarkets and were picked a little unripe, but have softened up. I then found out that making wine from apricots is not uncommon in Japan. I guess anything with a short growing season but a lot of fruit would be likely to be preserved in some way. Considering I usually paid around $3 US for around six of them (bigger probably genetically modified ones), I thought this was a good deal.
If you like apricots, look for あんず or anzu, which is what they're called in Japanese. They're a lot like ume, but turn orange when ripe and are safe to eat fresh, plus get bigger than ume.