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  • 執筆者の写真Michi

Shiso, Japanese basil


Shiso is one of the most noted herbs in Japan.

When I look at shiso plants scattering all over my garden in the beginning of autumn, I start to feel like doing something to preserve shiso leaves and seeds that had pleased me so much in summer. I've tried a couple of different ways to preserve shiso's good flavor, its refreshing scent, and green color for as long as possible, hopefully till the first three days of the new year, because I wanted to use them in Osechi dishes(traditional New Year dishes).

*Two years ago I tried salting shiso leaves and kept them in the freezer, which bothered me a lot to desalt and even worse, all the scent had gone when I used them.

*Last year I tried another way, wrapping shiso leaves each in kitchen paper and put them in the freezer, which ended up dried and lost scent when I used them.

*Today I cut the shiso leaves and seeds into fine pieces and put them in the freezer. I hope I'll be successful in getting both fresh green and scent .

I make cabbage & shiso salad with sesame oil dressing very often in the summer. It is said no heating is necessary for shiso because some minerals might be broken by the heat.

Nowadays we can buy shiso leaves anytime at a supermarket.

Why I preserve shiso leaves is just because mine are all organic. It is said that shiso leaves tend to easily retain agricultural chemicals.

It's true that they are rich in beta-carotene(βカロチン), vitamin C, and minerals such as iron, and kalium and they have effective bacteria-killing action. You can take 100g of carrot containing as much beta-carotene as 100g of shiso leaves. But isn't it difficult for us to eat so many shiso leaves? They are very nutritious, though.

I'd like to recommend you to eat shiso when you eat sashimi.

The shiso seeds(しその実) are also rich in beta-carotene, α-linolenic acid (アルファリノレン酸), vitamins, and minerals. I boil the shiso seeds in the bonito broth(soup) seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin.


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I posted this on November 23 2022.



This is a picture of Osechi, a traditional New Year's dishes, which I prepared before New Year's Day. You may say it's too late to post this today on November 23, 2022, but look at the green shiso leaves put in the cuts of Kamaboko, boiled fish paste, which is at least successful in preserving the color, but unfortunately not good flavor.





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