Stop here with a cup of tea, read what I think, sip some Chinese culture knowledge, perhaps…makes your life change.
-by Hsiao-Yu Liao
The weather forcast mentioned about “plum rains”. Plum rains, is it raining or plums falling? Well, don’t forget to bring your umbrella, you are experiencing梅雨季(méiyǔjì –plum rain seasons).
梅雨季(méiyǔjì –plum rain seasons)
梅雨(méiyǔ –plum rains) usually occurs around May in the regions ranged from eastern China, Taiwan, South Korea, to Japan. It is so named considering of梅子(méizi –plum) which ripens at this time and the period often lasts until mid-summer. Showers alternate with sunshine, under the circumstances, the weather is really hard to predict. The environment is so wet that clothes are very likely to become moldy. And series of rainy days overcast the sunshine in the sky and people’s light mood as well. Due to its negative influence, some people make fun with its name, changing 梅(méi) into 霉(méi) and describing the rain as霉雨(méiyǔ –moldy rain).
Now you know that we are talking about a rainy season that is named by the fruit, but not the fruit falling down from the sky. We have more detailed information about this fruit. 梅子(méizi) is a small and round fruit just as the size of a ping-pong ball. With a thin and smooth skin, the color of the skin varies from green to yellow which is determined by the timing of fruit gathering. Usually the ripe plums are yellow, referring to黃梅(huángméi) with sweet, soft flesh, and a single large hard seed. If plum farmers collect the plums when they are not ripe yet, these plums appear green as 青梅(qīng méi) and the taste of its flesh is sour, firm and crunchy.
Food Products made by梅子(méizi)
梅子(méizi) is commonly seen in Chinese family from the fruit itself to 梅酒 (méijiǔ – plum wine), 梅醋(méicù – plum vinegar), 酸梅汁(suānméi zhī – plum juice) and jam-making or other recipes. For青梅(qīng méi), it is usually eaten fresh or pickled. As for黃梅(huángméi), because the taste is sweet and juicy, people make it into different kinds of drinks.
Not only with the full flavor of梅子(méizi), but there are also health advantages in these drinks. The most important one is its benefits in Alkaline diet which affect the acidity of bodily fluids. With the taste of sour, the acid contained in plums can neutralize the greasy feelings from oily food. This is the reason why in a Japanese serving meal, there’s always a small dish of plums to promote the digestion and reduce fatigue. Furthermore, plums are rich in minerals and vitamin C. Eating various flavours of dried plum can light up one’s mood, it’s especially beneficial for expectant mothers. A cup of hot plum tea will also release the discomfort from sore throat and headache.
We hope that you are enjoying our sharing with your tea and maybe some plums! The benefits above are just a few from consuming plums. To find out more, we are looking forward for you to giving it a try and telling us!