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Perilla Frutescens, Shiso - Green

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Shiso is often cultivated in the Orient as a food flavouring. Shiso is also cultivated for the oil obtained from its seed. It is sometimes used in sub-tropical bedding schemes in Britain.

The leaves, stems and seeds of shiso are often used in Oriental medicine.

A drying oil obtained from the seed is used in making paints, varnishes, water proofing etc

Prefers a light soil. Requires a rich well-drained moisture-retentive soil in full sun. Plants require a well-drained soil but do not need particularly fertile soil. Prefers an acid soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.

The plant is not frost hardy and requires temperatures above 18°c if it is to grow well. The plant requires short days in order to flower.

Surface-sow or only lightly cover the seed in mid spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best at 20°c, though it also succeeds at slightly lower temperatures. Germination is usually quick, prick out the seedlings into trays or individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Give the plants some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away well.

This herb should be avoided by pregnant women.

Edible uses
Edible young leaves and seedlings - raw or cooked. The flavour is strange to western palates at first, some people detecting cinnamon, others coriander or citrus. 
Seedlings are added to salads, older leaves are used as a garnish or flavouring. Older leaves are also salted and used as a condiment for tofu and as a garnish for tempura. Leaves from purple cultivars are used to colour preserved fruits. The leaves can also be dried for later use. The leaves contain about 3.1% protein, 0.8% fat, 4.1% carbohydrate, 1.1% ash.
Immature flower clusters are used as a garnish for soups and chilled tofu. Older flower clusters are fried and eaten. The seeds are preserved in salt or are used as a spice in pickles, tempura and miso. They are one of the ingredients in 'Shichimi' or 'seven spice' mixture. The seed can also be eaten cooked. Seeds from purple-leafed forms of the plant are preferred for culinary use. The seed contains about 21.5% protein, 43.4% fat, 11.3% carbohydrate, 4.4% ash. 
An edible drying oil is obtained from the seed. It is rich in linolenic acid.
The plant yields an essential oil which is used as a food flavouring in candies and sauces.

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