I *love* ume! Umeboshi vinegar is a must have in my pantry. I have the plums too and they really are expensive. What is the recipe? Perhaps it can be modified to reflect the flavors without the expense.
The recipe is (believe it or not) grits. Umeboshi plum can function similarly (in flavor profile) to ham hock in them. At least according to Cookin' Southern Vegetarian Style by Ann Jackson. I'm intrigued ... but intrigued enough to plop down the cash it'd take to find out? I'm not sure.
What's funny is even if the end product is the spitting image of grits and ham hock I'll have no idea. I've never had those. I'm a yankee
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