Japanese Herb Series 3: Perilla Leaves - Essential for Summer Meals

Perilla leaves have long been used as a garnish for sashimi in Japan. The red and green leaves are harvested between June and July and can either come with or without wrinkles. .

Although it is said to have originated in China, it is thought to have been in Japan since ancient times, as it has been excavated from the ruins dating back to the country’s Jomon period (stone age).

How to Use Perilla Leaves

Red perilla leaves can be used to give color to umeboshi, dried for use in furikake seasoning, or juiced.

Green perilla leaves are served with sashimi and used as a condiment. It has a high reproductive capacity, easy to cultivate, and even grows in the wild. The distinct aroma of the leaves promotes appetite and has strong antibacterial properties.

Its use as an accompaniment for sashimi makes sense from the perspective of preserving the fish through its essential oil components: perillaldehyde and limonene. And from the standpoint of making the food taste more delicious, its aroma whets a person’s appetite. It is like the Japanese version of basil, where a small bunch grown in your garden can make a whole lot of difference, given that it can be used as a topping for cold tofu, mixed in a salad, used as a condiment for meat dishes, or fried as delicious tempura.

Health Benefits of Perilla Leaves

Since the leaves contain both iron and vitamin C, they are said to prevent anemia. Perilla leaves that have been dried in the shade, known as “soyo”, and perilla fruits that have been dried, known as “soshi,” are used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are said to promote sweating, suppress coughing, and balance the microbiome in your stomach and intestines.

It has a high reproductive capacity and is easy to cultivate. Perilla leaves are the perfect herb for the summer since they energize you. Try it out and enrich your life with them.


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