Saturday, January 31, 2009

Perilla frutescens crispa, "Shisho"

Purple leafed Beefsteak Plant Perilla frutescens crispa is called Shisho in Japan
This summer herb is easy to grow and drops enough seed to return each year.The seeds are remarkable as they are mottled purple and resemble tiny spotted birds' eggs.
In Japan the leaves are used in tempura, while the seeds are preserved and used as a salty core in candy or sweets. Another use is as an accompaniment to pickled plums.These oil rich seeds also have had an economic use in the manufacture of paint as they act as a quick drying agent .
This variety is the most decorative form of Perilla but leaf colour can vary from green to brown to mahogany to almost black.

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