Perilla (Japanese, Vietnamese  and  Korean Shi-So, Zi Su, Beefsteak)

Perilla, or called Shi-So, is a very popular herb in Japan and many other Asian countries. Young leaves and flowering shoots are used for cooking and pickling because of their aromatic flavor. The plant grow best under full sun or partially shading in mild climates.

NOTE: One of the challenges in growing Perilla is to handle the seed germination issue. Perilla seeds have dormant characteristics and seeds will not germinate during this period. The dormant period can begin any time just after the fresh seeds harvested and may end, unpredictably, in 1-2 years. Seeds will have good germination after this dormant period finished. Therefore many experienced farmers prefer to use post-dormant old seeds than pre-dormant fresh seeds in planting. It has been reported that the dormant period can be broken and shorten if seeds kept in a low temperature, 35-45 F, for at least 1-3 months. Therefore it is suggested to seal seeds in a bag and store it in a refrigerator (not freezer) if not to be planting soon.

Seeds require light to germinate and should be covered only with a very thin layer of soil when sowing, but keep soil moist during the germination. For obtining better and more uniform germination, it is suggested to soak seeds overnight before sowing.

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Japanese Perilla, Green Leaf (Ao-Shiso)
Japanese Perilla, Green Leaf (Ao-Shiso)

Green flat leaves. Very popular for using in Sushi.

Japanese Perilla, Red Leaf (Aka-Shiso)
Japanese Perilla, Red Leaf (Aka-Shiso)

Red leaf. Used extensively for pickling in Japan.

Japanese Perilla, Hojisho
Japanese Perilla, Hojisho

Young leaves and flower-buds for pickling uses.

Korean Perilla, Large Leaf
Korean Perilla, Large Leaf

Large leaves used for eating in Korean food.

Korean Perilla, Asia Ip
Korean Perilla, Asia Ip

Popular perilla in Korea. Mild mint/basil flavor.

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