I read the recipe for Maesilcha (Plum Tea) about six months ago and I didn’t think I was going to try to do it. Two months for a recipe is a big commitment! Then about 3 months ago, I saw these beautiful organic black plums and thought, what the heck? I’ll try it.
Maelsicha tastes like fermented plum juice which is actually pretty good. I never tasted anything like it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t yield very much tea. I made a little less than 3 quarts. To me, this was more like a science experiment than recipe.
I kept the plums in my closet which made me nervous and Tom too. I choose my closet because it stays relatively cool, even in the middle of summer. I promised Tom that the experiment would stop if anything untoward decided to check it out. Since I used my clothes closet, it was easy to make sure this didn’t happen because I opened it every day. Fortunately, nothing did. I think the key is to make sure the container you use can create a tight seal.
Adapted from The Beauty of Korean Food with 100 Best-Loved Recipe by the Institute of Korean Food.
Total Time – 2 months
Special Equipment – a container with a lid
1) 8-10 plums
2) Enough sugar to cover the plums in the container
1) Wash the plums
2) Drain in a strainer. The books say drain two hours but that seemed ridiculous so I just dried them after a few minutes.
3) Place the plums in the container in layers. After each layer cover the plums with sugar until you’ve placed all the plums in the container and covered them all with sugar.
4) Place somewhere cool for at least two months….
Two months later
1) You want to capture the plum juice only. This part scared the crap out of me. Two months cultivating this juice. What if I did something stupid now? As calmly as I could, I took a handheld strainer and placed it over my large mixing bowl, then I poured the contents of the container.
2) Discard the wrinkled plums and excess sugar.
3) Clean the container you used to ferment the plums. Pour the plum juice back into the container.
4) Add water to the plum juice. The ratio is about 2/1.
5) Let it chill in the refrigerator for a bit before drinking. You can also warm it up and serve it hot as well.