Has anyone grown shiso? it is wonderful!

cabrita(9b SoCal)April 30, 2009

The first time I came across shiso it was in a sushi bar in the Bay Area, it was part of a tasty vegetarian hand roll that also featured enoki mushrooms. We started growing it last year in our garden. I started green shiso from seed and latter we found red shiso seedlings at a nursery. We grew both and loved them. I used the red shiso to make red shiso vinegar (using rice wine vinegar) and I also used it (both red and green) in several carrot salads.

This spring we found out that it reseeded itself enthusiastically and I have transplanted a few around the garden. We are likely to have quite a bit more than last year of both the red and the green. What other dishes have you folks found that make good use of shiso?

Shiso is also known as beefstake leaves and perilla.

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I also grew shiso (called sesame leaves by Koreans)last year.
I bought the seeds from korean market. They always sell the leaves and bunchs.

This year I have enough self seeded plants that are growing.
I dug them up and planted where I wanted.
I love the taste an aroma of it. I use it in just about any dish that has vegetables in it. Also I stuff the big leaves, chop the very tender and small ones and mix i with stuffing.
I just found out not too long ago that what I thought was sesame leaves, actualy was not that and not even related to sesame.
Aside from taste and aroma, shiso has many medicinal qualities as well. I have still some dried ones from lat year. If you dry and keep them in dark place, the leaves will stay green.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 11:11PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Here's a link to other shiso (Perilla frutescens) threads this forum has seen:

Herbs forum perilla (shiso) threads)

Here's the entry on shiso from The Joy of Japanese Cooking by Kueako Takahashi:

"Perilla (Sisho[sp.])
An annual plant which is a little like basil and easy to grow from seed. The leaves have a pleasant aroma. They make nice garnish for sashimi, grilled fish or meat, or mixed with rice, salads, and pickles. Young shiso pods, (flowers just turning to pods) left on the stalk make a nice garnish for sashimi. Stripped off the stalk into soy sauce, they impart an interesting bite and aroma in sashimi dipping sauce. Both the leaves and seedpods on stalks are good in tempura. Red shiso is called beefsteak plant because of its shape and color. It is used for pickling salted plums [umeboshi]. Red shiso sprouts are popular as sashimi garnish."

I like to use an umeboshi vinegar and a salted preserved shiso leaf in Japanese styled quick pickles (tsukemono).


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:40AM
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Ooh. Great, now another plant I need to find room for in my garden! haha I love "umeshisho" rolls - plum paste & shiso leaves. Sometimes it will have cucumber too which I think is called umekyu. I haven't been able to find a restaurant that carries them in my home neighborhood (just by work) so it would be wonderful if I had the shisho in my backyard so I could make it myself!

Does anyone know if it would be a problem to grow it near other types of mint since it is in the same family?

And why does Dave's garden say it is poisonous?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 10:27AM
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Now you all just had to post this!!! now I need this plant, must have it and am gonna get it... but for the life of me I just can't figure out where to put it. Yet!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 1:14AM
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I grew Korean Shiso last year.It has green leave a bit purple on the back. It takes a while for the plant to take off, becaus it has a sturdy root system, with the main stem as thick as finger at the base. If you don't pinch the branches, it can grow 4 feet high. By pinching, you can keep them relatively short but bushy.

Plant it towards the north/northeast side of your patch, in order not to shade shorter veggies. Also space them about 2 -3 feet.Or you don't have to plant all of them in one place.
While they are growing, you can plant other thing between them. You probably would not need more than 2 or 3 plant. Unless you want to share, freez, and dry for winter use. Last year I pulled out some just before frost and dried them as whole. I still have lots of them. Interestingly, after nearly 7 months the leaves are stil very aromatic and flavorful.
If you let it to flower and let the flowers mature, it wiil produce seeds and will re-seed itself. I would just let one of them grow seeds.The seeds, in their pods are also very aromatic and can be used as spice.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 2:50AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

And why does Dave's garden say it is poisonous?

Read the comments further on down on that page for the reason why.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 8:42AM
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Like any internet site, the one mentioned above has some folks who's purpose in life is to search for anything negative to be found on any topic and repeat it, (or parts of it) in the most alarmist way.
Even plain water can kill you if you get it in the wrong part of your body or in the wrong way.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 10:41PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

I am harvesting quite a few carrots, and the shiso is growing well! the green one also has reseeded itself. This is really good.


2 cups grated fresh garden carrots - or use a mandolin

4-6 lightly steamed fresh green beans - very thinly sliced

bunch green onions (green part of the onion)

few shiso leaves (I used about 6 purple ones)


zest of 1 meyers lemon

juice of 2 meyers lemons

2-3 tbsp chinese sweet mustard

2-3 tbsp maple syrup

option: thinly sliced fresh peppers hot or mild

Mix first 4 ingredients, mix dressing and pour on salad. Garnish with optional peppers on top.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Does anyone use Perilla oil for cooking?

I recently spotted some in an Asian grocerette and purchased it out of curiosity, but don't know what to use it with.

I grew Perilla a number of years ago and let it reseed. The next year it was all over the place, but not really "weedy"--it is too easy to pull up to be considered that. After a few more years, it all disappeared. I always wondered why it couldn't keep reseeding itself.

Now I see I have another plant coming up here and there that I planted out a few years ago, also, I think, Japanese, with a flavorful leaf. It is sort of a bronze color, with leaflets in threes. I can't remember the name, but it's attractive enough that I am reluctant to eat it.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 10:59PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Mitsuba is another Japanese "flavorful leaf" and has 3 leaflets but it is green not bronze.

As far as Perilla oil, I suspect that might be a sashimi seasoning. Could use it in salad dressings, I suppose.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 7:26PM
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lali(z9, Sunset z18, CA)

Has anyone planted shiso/perilla in the ground? Is this plant as agressive as regular mint? I'm contemplating on whether or not to introduce it into my herb garden. I'm afraid it might take over.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 3:08AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I believe it is a pretty "effective" self-seeder in warmer parts of the US.

Since it is an annual plant, controlling seed drop would be key to keep it from places where you don't want it. Most annuals are easy to control through removing flower heads before seed maturity and pulling any unwanted plants prior to flowers & seeds.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 8:23AM
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Perilla doesn't spread by rhizomes like mint does but it is a pretty prolific seeder in my experience. I have it growing in my back yard and I had tons suddenly appear in remote corners of my front yard. It's very easy to control however

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 11:27AM
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lali(z9, Sunset z18, CA)

I guess if I'm diligent about removing the flowers I should be OK then? I've been heading (removing the flowers) off my basils (sweet and thai) for a while now, so doing so for the perilla shouldn't be much more work.

I noticed most of my herbs are doing so much better in-ground than they were in pots, so if I can get away with putting perilla in the ground then I'm for it. The mint did scare me a bit when I took it out of the pot and saw all the rhizomes. I'm definitely keeping the mint in a pot.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 3:40PM
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I have been trying to grow shiso without success. I live in Honolulu, Hawaii, in a hot, dry area, so I purchased fresh seeds, followed package instructions, and watered regularly. Weeks later, NOTHING! I'm trying again today. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can try to increase success? I haven't been able to find shiso plants at the local garden shops, so that's not an alternative for me. I'd appreciate any words of wisdom! Mahalo

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 5:30PM
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Sow seeds in warm soil in early spring. Seeds need light to germinate, so do not cover seeds at all, and a temperature of 20-22°C is required. Germination occurs in about 11-30 days. Plant grows rapidly. Cooler temperatures or dry conditions will adversely affect germination. Grow in rich, well-drained soil. Prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade. Once established, it will self-seed, so pinch out flower spikes as they develop. Grows best in warm temperatures. Long days and plenty of moisture produce best vegetative growth; shorter days are required for flower production. It does not tolerate crowding, so give it plenty of space.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 6:47PM
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just came across this thread searching for something else...hope you have sprouted some shiso by now but if not...lowes, home depot and walmart all sell shiso in 4" pots on Maui. You should certainly be able to find it on Oahu. It can be found in the herb section. It is not a regular like basil or mint but it comes through pretty regularly.

as dd said, lots of water and perhaps a bit of mid day shade.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 3:04PM
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I ended up getting a purple shiso plant thanks to this thread. I put it in the ground by my regular mint and it has gotten huge! Now I just need to actually make something with it. :-)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 5:00PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

I have harvested a large amount of shiso leaves by now. The last thing I made was some shiso tea. I placed the washed leaves of both purple and green leaves in a large pot of water that I had heated to a boil, and added 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid. Steeped the leaves until the water was cooled, strained and refrigerated the amazingly colored liquid in a pitcher. It makes a nice refreshing drink. Some folks suggest adding sugar, I had mine plain.

I also used it in a stir fry, with carrots, green beans, scallions, garlic and seitan. I shredded the shiso and added it towards the final steps of the stir fry, it greatly reduced in volume (like spinach) and gave the dish a nice interesting flavor.

It is not invasive like mint, and I have transplanted my seedlings when they were growing in less than desirable spots. I now have scattered it all around the garden, but I also have basil scattered around and I see no harm in basil and shiso volunteers next spring....

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 2:32PM
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You can use it in any recepie that calls for basils, oregano, mint, etc.
I also use it as a wrapper, in place of grape leaves or cabbage. It is tastier and more aromatic than both of them.

Shiso also dries very well. Just cut down the whole stem from base, hang it in a dark place to mainain color.
It will hold its flavor and aroma for a year, in time for fresh ones.
If you pickle, add some shiso leaves along with mints, basil, tarragon, dills, lemon grass, lemon balm, lemon verbana, cilantro.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 12:23AM
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weedlady(Central OH 6)

I must be the only person who dislikes the smell/flavor of shiso--but I do grow it for the ornamental value of it! Looks great in a mixed border & in bouquets.
First time I encountered it (over 20 years ago), it was growing along the edge of a street in my neighborhood, seedlings by the gazillion coming up in the detritus down along the curb where it meets the street. Thought at first it was purple ruffles basil--until I smelled it. Yuck! :-) Anyway I transplanted some to my garden & have had it (on my own terms, in a controlled way!) ever since.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 10:18PM
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I planted 2 purple parilla plants last season- I now have 8 gazilllion in my garden, in between the stones on my patio, and in my lawn. I actually like the color of the plant, so I pulled most of it up but kept a few. I definitely will not be letting those go to seed!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 10:10PM
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