I met him 3 years ago.
Dora, my dear green-fingered friend gave me 2 seedlings, making sure it was very easy to grow.
In fact, I didn't really have that green thumb. Passionate about transformations, I had never indulged in listening to the rhythms of the plant before, except to understand its degree of maturity. So it was that I began to cultivate shiso, a decidedly resistant oriental aromatic plant of which I was able to collect the seeds and replant it for the second year. In part, it arranges itself, spreading its small seeds on neighboring lands and also resists the mountains well, as shown by the shiso I planted at 1000 meters above sea level (the one in the photo!). I simply planted the seeds in pots in mid-May, watering them every other day with a little water given with a sprayer. I placed the vase on a veranda, therefore protected from any drafts, with a lot of light (but in my case, not by choice, there was no direct light). After about 3 weeks the first plants were born, in total about thirty, which I then proceeded to transfer to several pots once they reached 10 cm in height. The passage to the ground took place in the middle of July, because this year the summer season in the mountains was slow to start, so that before, I fear, they would have suffered from the cold.
I have always used vegetable soil, mixed with rather ferrous mountain earth.
But let's get to her: who is she underneath?
It is Perilla Frutescens, an aromatic and medicinal plant originating from the East.
It is known and cultivated in Japan, Korea, China, India and Vietnam, used both for its flavor, its properties and because it is a beautiful ornamental plant.
Both the leaves and the seeds are used and it is known above all because it gives that characteristic reddish color to umeboshi plums, the Japanese salted plums so loved by macrobiotics and by the multiple functions from which an acidulate is obtained, excellent for characterizing many savory preparations.
Its flavor is slightly reminiscent of anise and lemon balm.
In addition to the recipes that you can find on this site, its leaves are delicate and are excellent to add to green salads, for a further aromatic touch or to fruit salads, together with apple cider vinegar and maple syrup you will create a very special sauce for seasoning. raspberries and red fruits, peaches and other summer fruits. I really like it to complement some dishes with sweet notes, or in combination with sesame, its great ally in oriental cuisine. Partly last year I dried it at 40 ° C and created a shiso powder, which is then useful for flavoring and lightly coloring doughs and meatballs.
My dad also makes shiso grappa, harvested in spring ... very good! Balsamic and digestive, maybe in the future I will share his recipe, but first I have to ask him for the copyright;)
Shiso is also rich in properties.
If you like to learn more about this aspect, I refer you to the following sites: