I opted for the umeboshi paste rather than the plums because it was less expensive. I'm now wondering if there is a difference betwene use of the paste and the plum in recipes--i've been trying to eyeball 1/4 a plum for my teas.
Apparently the plum is the only one with medicinal properties. The paste and vinegar are byproducts of the plum making process, and although they are tasty, they aren't medicinal. I'm sure for taste purposes using the paste is fine. I wouldn't stress; the plums are really expensive. See if you can get to an Asian grocer. They are cheaper there.
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