Garden to Table: Red Shiso Juice

I love shiso and am growing both green and red shiso in my garden. In fact, I have three different kinds of shiso growing. I sprouted the frilly leaf-type green and red shiso from seed. I got some seedlings of the green top/red bottom shiso from Garden Exchange and that is growing well!

I use the green frilly shiso leaves as a kind of lettuce wrap. I wrap sashimi and dip it in shoyu and wasabi for a yummy bite. When I have a grilled steak or pork or chicken, I wrap a slice in a shiso leaf and eat it like that. If you want additional toppings, you can add pickled garlic, kimchi. You can even dip it in sesame oil. YUM! For the red shiso, whether it is the frilly, dark red leaf or the one that is both green and red on the leaf, I enjoy making shiso juice. My friend Naomi taught me how to make this.

Just get your hands on a bunch of red shiso leaves and wash it and put it in a pot with just enough water to cover it and bring it to a boil. Let it steep for a few minutes — you’ll notice that the leaves will all turn green when you boil it.

After letting the leaves sit for about 10-30 minutes, strain the water and squeeze the liquid out of the leaves. (I have been throwing the leaves away in my compost, but if you have any ideas on uses for the leaves, let me know.) While the water is still warm, add some honey or sugar and stir to dissolve. Next, the fun part.

Shiso juice comparison. The left has the lemon juice added. The right doesn’t have it added yet.

Add lemon juice or yuzu concentrate to the dark red liquid. Actually, you can even add apple cider vinegar instead of the lemon juice if you prefer. Once the acid goes in, you’ll see the color change to a bright, pretty pink color. That is it! Refrigerate the juice so you have a refreshing juice for a hot summer day. I like to mix it with sparkling water.

You can make awesome cocktails with this juice too! I’d be happy to taste test your shiso cocktails. Just let me know. Living Hilo Style.

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