Two Favorite Ingredients in Dr. Sherri’s Kitchen

Two Favorite Ingredients in Dr. Sherri’s Kitchen


Today, I want to share a story with you about two of my family’s favorite ingredients in the kitchen.

So, I love my Dad, dearly.  I’m in awe of him most of the time.  He is one of the most even-keeled, easy-to-be-around people I’ve ever met.  He’s a simple, “southern-born and raised” kind of guy… loves fried chicken and a good Budweiser.  He’s never been particularly concerned with his health.He always says, “Well you have to die of something, so might as well enjoy!” (Said with a little southern molasses in his accent).  And he truly enjoys life fully.  Honestly, he’ll probably outlive us all!

As you might imagine, over the years, we’ve put him through some pretty interesting combinations of foods and flavors.  In his accommodating style he always obliges to try, and usually enjoys, everything we serve (except beets, no matter how we fix them).

Two unusual things we’ve fed him, have become his staples and a joke around the house.  He always asks for his “Uma Puma” and his “Herbicide”.  Bless him ’cause that’s as close as he’s going to get.  What he means is Umeboshi vinegar and Herbamare.

I guess I just want to introduce you to these staples in our house.  If Dad can fall in love with them, I think you will too.

As foods go, I have very fond memories of umeboshi plums. I was first introduced to them way before medical school when I was first learning about macrobiotic cooking.  Umeboshi plums, a staple in Japanese cooking, are pickled, sun dried and aged for a year or more in shisho leaves.  These plums are valued for their taste and medicinal qualities.  They’re used as a digestive aid, hangover cure, remedy for fatigue and they’re prized for their ability to remove toxins from the body.  In the west, we have “an apple a day” ….the equivalent in the East might just be…”an umeboshi a day”.  While the flavor is far more colorful than just “super salty”, at first taste, it’s clearly the most evident feature.

We typically use the vinegar on veggies, rice dishes or in marinades for clean meats. If you try it, remember its flavor is potent.  You don’t need much.

You can also use the umeboshi plums themselves or find a paste made from them. You can spread some of the plum or paste on salmon or add a dab to your sushi rolls, soups, dips or marinades.

You can make teas and tonics out of the plums, not so much for a pleasant tasting tea, but the high citric acid content makes it a great digestive aid. Experiment with this medicinal food and see if “Uma Puma” becomes a staple in your household.

“Herbicide” or more appropriately called Herbamare is a little less exotic than umeboshi, but we love it just the same.  A mix of organic herbs and sea salt, this balanced seasoning brings great flavor and added nutrients to anything you’re cooking.  If you feel like you aren’t sure how to incorporate spices in your life, you can’t go wrong with Herbamare.  And remember, herbs are high in antioxidants and nutrient-dense.  It’s easy to add a little extra nutrition and flavor to your food by using some spice mixes like this one.

Anyway… Uma Puma and Herbicide have a permanent place in our kitchen… let me know if they become part of yours.


Related blogs:

Favorite Medicinal Spices of Your Favorite ND’s

Potent Antioxidants on Your Spice Rack


Photo Credit: mitoku