I love growing interesting flavors in my garden and bringing them into the kitchen to cook with. That is why I added shiso to my seed list a couple of years ago. I first tried this fragrant herb in a restaurant in Western Canada (where I was also introduced to parsley root). It has a very distinct flavor and is very ornamental. Growing shiso from seed is pretty easy and if you let it go to seed in the fall, well, you won’t need to grow more next year.How is shiso used in the kitchen?
It’s hard to describe the flavor of shiso. It has a very distinctive taste. I would put it in the same hard-to-define flavor category as cilantro. I find there are hints of citrus and mint and a bit of anise. When I asked Niki (who also grows shiso) to describe the flavor, she answered “minty and basily with a hint of spice. And a little bitter, too.” Some gardeners also taste clove, cinnamon, cumin, and basil.
A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), different varieties of shiso (Perilla frutescens var. Crispa or Perilla frutescens) are used across a number of cuisines in East and Southeast Asia. Shiso’s botanical name, Perilla, is often used as the common name, depending on the language. It’s also referred to as the beefsteak plant.
Both the leaves and seeds are used. Leaves are used as wraps, to flavor soups, dipped in tempura batter, pickled, sliced into salads, and more.
Shiso leaves are quite spectacular so even though your plan may be to include them in your herb garden, you can add them to an ornamental garden, too. The spade-shaped leaves can span about three inches (7.5 cm) in width and have saw-toothed or serrated edges. Some varieties have a very ruffled surface, while others flatter, with more of a ruffled edge.Where you can Read more on savvygardening.com