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Shiso, the ancient relative to mint and basil, was used to make lamp oil when people crushed its seeds.

Appearance & Flavor

This leaf with jagged edges grows in green or red. The green variety is said to taste like mint with bitter undertones of lemon. The red variety is known as the milder one, though to some that are more sensitive to it, it can have a more bitter flavor that comes from the compound which causes its redness. Chose ones that are not brittle and still have their vibrant color.

Ways to Enjoy

Use shiso they way you’d use any mint or basil, like in salads, stir-fries, with cold noodles, or in spring rolls. It is very popular as a garnish in sushi as well as a topping to ramen and fried rice. How about this light and refreshing appetizer?

Availability & Origin

The availability depends on the variety. The green variety grows year-round and peaks spring and summer, whereas red is only found during the summer months. Native to East China and Southeast Asia. In the US, it is grown in greenhouses across the country as well as in Hawaii.


Wrap the stem end in a damp paper towel in an air-tight container or bag in the fridge and you should get three days of use out of them.