Not all shiso taste the same.
In our kitchen, we find there are culinary differences between the Japanese and Korean Shiso and thus we used them differently.
In the former (Japanese,青しそ, ao-jiso ), the leaves are thinner and the taste is suitable even for young children’s salads. Eaten raw, the minty flavor is not as sharp as the Korean and taste slightly like cinnamon. Japanese Shiso can be either green or reddish color.
The Korean Shiso seem to be a favorite only with the adults at home, especially meat lovers. We enjoyed the thicker leaves as wrap of greasy meats dipped in sweet Korean chilli paste and sesame oil. The flavors blend so well that the grease “disappeared” from one’s palate. Regrettably the grease did not disappeared for real! In appearance, Korean shiso has an oval smooth edged thicker leaf compared to Japanese Shiso.
Shiso seeds have short life span and should be kept in the freezer to extend its viability. Germination can be tricky as it was important to maintain both warm and moist environment without drowning the seeds. For best result, seeds environment cannot alternate between dry and wet, it must be kept constantly moist.
It took between overnight to 14 days to see the seeds showed first sign of emerging life.
Seeds leaves did not show immediately. They appeared 3 days after germination. As young seedlings, the growth progress was relatively slow.
Significant spurt in growth seen only after one week.
Hydro seedlings settled in individual “pod”.
The downside of Perilla mint is that they seem to bolt rather quickly, usually after the 4th harvest and the leaves became tough and brittle. When this happened, leaves do not replaced as fast and they were smaller. We preferred to re-start from seeds and enjoyed younger leaves.
Soil Based Shiso
We love these leaves raw in salads, rice rolls or with sashimi. Our favorite salad combination is avocado with these leaves, do try it for yourself!
As the children love only Japanese Shiso leaves, we grew mainly this than the Korean variety at home.
SEEDS ARE AVAILABLE IN SHOP
These seedling grew very fast after one month.
Although at this stage, the size of the leaf is not big, we enjoy the tender smaller leaves over the mature ones. Its texture at this stage is finer and the cinnamon flavor had a sweeter aftertaste.
Larger leaves can be harvested first, keeping the smaller leaves on the plant. The next harvest in a week time. Planted well in cloth bags, with enough aeration to roots zone even though its in soil, this can be a large plant.
As the roots had extended out of its seedling bag, it can now be planted in a larger pot to mature further.