This is the season I’ve been waiting for the entire year. Yumberry seasons. The locals call it “yang mei” or simply “red berry” and it’s very popular in Shanghai, probably more than Kumquat fruit. The fruit is only available in the beginning of summer time, right after the plum rain seasons. Only just briefly, coincides with the plum seasons and crawfish seasons – some call it crayfish or dragon shrimp. Yes, serious size of crawfish! The chinese are masters when it comes to cooking crawfish. There’re more than 27 different ways of cooking using spices and seasonings. Five spices, stir fried in garlic, deep fried in Sichuan chilis, steamed in seven spices, steamed and dipped in vinegar & soy sauce.
According to some articles, cultivation of the yumberry began more than 2,000 years ago in Southeast China. It is a fruit native to China which is only recently in the past 3 years become popular overseas, especially in the US.
What is yumberry like?
Well, basically it’s a round berry full of tight pulpy columns – raspberry like, but waxy. Color varies from white, vibrant red to dark purple. The latest one is the best variety. They’re very popular in Shanghai. They are large and sweet, but very delicate. They are easily bruised and go bad after a day or two. We just received a carton of yumberry from a friend. It was carefully packed with ice packs inside a styro foam box. The fruit arrived fresh, firm and very juicy.
How does it taste?
Personally I think it has similar taste and texture to rambutan. The flesh and pulp is juicy and sweet, yet somewhat tart with a hint of sourness. It also contains beneficial antioxidants, vitamins & minerals, including vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin and carotene.
Yumberry pulp and juice have red pigmentation. I wonder if someday yumberry will be widely used in food industry. The red velvet cake will be made from yumberry pulp, red wine with yumberry tone, yumberry cobbler or perhaps a yumberry cosmopolitan? Oh, that one should be a winner. I’d love to try that one.
But be careful of the stain, that deep purplish red stain is a tough one to clean. Yeah, my little one loves this fruit so much we have stains on our living room carpet as proof.