Shiso is a member of the mint family and has large teardrop-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Have you ever had sushi that was accompanied by a fresh green leaf? Perhaps you assumed it was a garnish, like parsley, and didn't touch it. Next time, take a piece of sashimi and wrap it around the shiso leaf and eat it - it's quite delicious.
Shiso has an unique taste and fragrance that's a bit hard to describe. It is found in Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian cusines; it's mostly used as a wrapping or in soups and with rice. A favorite maki sushi roll of ours is shiso with umeboshi (pickled plum.) It can also be ground up into a pesto sauce and tossed with some sesame seed oil and soba noodles, or used in cocktails like a shiso julep. We also like tossing the leaves in a stir-fry.
Shiso is also very easy to grow in a container and loves having a sunny location. There are green and purple varieties of shiso, and either one is a wonderful addition to a kitchen garden.
Shiso is(Image: Kathryn Hill)