Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shiso and wild sesame leaves

I removed the fancy amaranth. Tried it. Didn't like it. Tough and chewy. Give me good old pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), any day (actually, the pigweed is lying right on top, see?). The newly-empty pot was quickly filled with my three surviving shiso plants. That Cat is back. It dug up some of my new, small shisos in a trough and disturbed the seeds I'd sown. Bloody cat. Not my cat. So the survivors, previously in another small pot, are precious. I had not realized how big they will become.

Here they are, sharing with trout lettuce.

I say shiso because their Botanical Interests packet is labeled Perilla frutescens, with common name shiso. But recently I learned from Juliana Sohn that perilla is also known as sesame leaf or ggaennip by Koreans. It seems to be a subspecies of Perilla frutescens, and I'm still not sure what it is that I have: P. frutescens var. crispa is shiso, as I understand it, and has a more deeply serrated leaf than what I see above.  P. frutescens var. frutescens is sesame leaf.  I think I have the the sesame leaf. Not shiso.

But that might be a good thing.


  1. Love the hob nail glass. Just saw a vintage set of 4 at a lovely estate sale. Did not give in to temptation. Now I am suffering regret. Seeing yours, I wish I had purchased them.

  2. So sorry that you gave up on the amaranth. The Asian varieties tend to be sweeter and more tender. The trick is to harvest it when it's fairly young, about 4 inches high and just few leaves on the stem.

  3. Shiso grows as a ground cover in my garden in n. Texas. I love it, both the green and purple types. They reseed extravagantly. I will be interested to see what you do with yours.

  4. Try sprinkling chilli flakes or cayenne around your precious plants - keeps rabbits and other undesirables away :) I feel for you, my biggest problem is snails... and the forecast is for 30 more days of rain - we're developing webbed toes and gills here!

  5. Hi! Just read your blog about Dead Horse Bay. While most people take their kids to Disney World, my husband and I took ours to the Bay yesterday! We came home with glass bottles, of course. The white ponds cream jar were a dime a dozen. I had to stop collecting them because poor Ted was the one carrying the bag and it got heavy fast! I could have spent much more time out there, but with a 6 & 9 year old getting too hot, it was time to pack it in. Did you know they have a brand new welcome center now? A ranger we met invited us out to it. So clean and gorgeous. And they had my kids complete little booklets that earned them Junior Ranger patches and badges. It was just a great way to finish off the day. That and a clean bathroom to rinse off!

  6. Marianne- I wish these were time, buy them :-)

    Joy - I know, I should have eaten them all early. I only did that with the the ones I thinned out...

    Gretshcen - how tall are yours? We ate the first ones with some beef in a very lemongrass-heavy salad last night.

    jelli - I sprinkled chicken wire instead :-) I can't believe your rain. It must be awful not see blue sky and sun for months - we'll stop complaining at this end.

  7. My shiso is 12" currently, no blooms yet. I'll try some in a salad. I grow lemongrass, but never thought to put it in salad. The native plant society here did an appreciation of milkweed presentation last month. The types we have here are really not edible, but so wonderful for the food chain. They are relentlessly purged from pastures, unfortunately.

  8. gretchen - chop the lemon grass veryveryvery finely. I mix add it to lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and chile. Ginger and garlic optional.


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