Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 51: Mighty Leaves

gift of shiso

Yesterday I had breakfast with my friend Johanna in her community garden. While we were there a kind stranger and fellow gardener offered us some of her lovely shiso leaves. I haven't had shiso since we were in Japan. In Osaka we had them as tempura with natto (a really amazing and unusual food in the Osaka area).

The spontaneous gift has motivated me to finally learn more about these powerful tasting leaves and share the info:

"Shiso is also known as Perilla, a a member of the mint family. Shiso is mainly grown in India and East Asia. There are both green-leafed and purple-leafed varieties which are generally recognized as separate species by botanists. The leaves resemble stinging nettle leaves, being slightly rounder in shape. It is also widely known as the Beefsteak plant. Its essential oils provide for a strong taste whose intensity might be compared to that of mint or fennel. It is considered rich in minerals and vitamins, has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to help preserve and sterilize other foods." -read more

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