Red Shiso Juice (With Perilla Leaves)

Shiso is a versatile and prominent purple or green grass in Japan. Discover and learn its culinary uses. Also learn how to make Purple Shiso Refreshing Juice with step by step photos and video.

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Did you know shiso is a Japanese herb with a distinctive flavor and scent? It is commonly used as an ingredient in many dishes, such as tempura. Perilla leaves (another name for this herb) are also often found in red shiso juice recipes. It can be hard to find the fresh ingredients for this recipe at your local grocery store, but luckily this recipe will show you how to make it from scratch!

two glasses of shiso juice

Shiso is a plant native to Japan that has been used for centuries in cooking and medicine. It is also commonly used to make shiso juice, which can be made with perilla leaves – the perfect companion!

I use this Japanese herb to garnish Japanese Donburi bowl dishes, chilled tofu, tempura, served with sashimi, sushi rolls, etc. You can even make syrup out of it!

You will love this shiso juice recipe because it is very easy to make.

What is Shiso?

Shiso is a variety of Perilla frutescens, commonly called Perilla in the mint family. Its botanical name is Perilla frutescens var. crisp and is different from Korean Perilla leaves. They look the same but taste different.

The shiso leaf is spade-shaped with a serrated edge, while the Korean perilla, also known as sesame leaves, is flatter and has a less serrated edge.

Red and green perilla leaves in a basket

What types of shiso varieties are available?

There are two varieties; green perilla leaves and the red/purple variety.

Shiso Green

This is also called “Ao (blue/green) jiso” or “ōba” in Japanese. It is a popular herb in Japan and available for purchase in supermarkets all year round, although the season runs from May to August in Japan.

Purple shiso in a colander in a kitchen sink

Red or Purple Shiso

This type of shiso is also known as “Aka(red)Jiso”. Unlike the green type, Akajiso is not available all year round but is available between June and July. It has a more astringent taste than green shiso; therefore not suitable for eating fresh.

Why You’ll Love Shiso Juice Made From Perilla Leaves

Shiso juice is a popular summer drink in Japan. This is because of its super pretty pink color and refreshing taste. It is said that shiso juice is good for those on a diet. The rosmarinic acid contained in this herb suppresses the digestion and absorption of sugar and fats.

Also, it is believed to prevent blood sugar levels from rising. However, the syrup contains sugar, so drinking too much is not a good idea. The Japanese drink it only occasionally and only one small glass a day.

How to Use Shiso in Japanese Cooking

The culinary uses of green and red shiso are different.

  • Green shiso is used as a fresh herb due to its refreshing flavor and aroma.
  • On the other hand, the red/purple leaf is used as a natural dye.

Green shiso recipe ideas

Due to its antibacterial property, you may have seen that it is often used to garnish sashimi and also as a divider in the Bento Box Lunch.

It is also used for

I just can’t have Temaki Zushi without chiso!

Shrimp tempura and various vegetables on a plate

Red/Purple Shiso Recipe Ideas

Red shiso is mainly used to color Umeboshi. The dried leaves of red/purple perilla after use in pickling umeboshi are known as rice seasoning called “Yukari”.

Also the Japanese make a summer drink shiso juice with this herb.

Point: The recipe is included at the end of this article!

Umeboshi in a preservation jar

How to Choose and Store Perilla Leaves

If your local Asian/Japanese grocery store stocks green perilla, choose the ones that aren’t shriveled and without black spots. When it loses its freshness, black spots appear on the leaves.

Green perilla leaves spoil easily and turn black if left in water. Use them as soon as possible or just soak the stem in water and keep them in the light.

Shiso Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions I get about shiso.

Red/purple perilla leaf plants in a small gardening pot
What does shiso taste like?

The flavor of green perilla leaves is a cross between mint and cinnamon with a hint of clove. Red/purple leaves have a more astringent taste than green perilla leaves. Both have a distinctive subtle aroma.

How to store shiso juice?

Store your homemade shiso juice or syrup in an airtight container (like a mason jar) and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Can I grow shiso?

Yes, it is actually quite simple to grow your own shiso. Keep reading and I’ll share a bit more information on how to do just that!

How to grow shiso

Although many Japanese foods are becoming more widely known around the world, some Japanese ingredients are still hard to come by.

Perilla leaves are one of them; however, it is very easy to grow!

All you need to do is sow seeds between April and May to start growing your own batch of leaves.

tiny shiso seeds on a tea towel

To do this, follow the instructions below:

  1. Soak the seeds in water the night before.
  2. Sow the seeds in seedling pots and moisten the soil.
  3. Pour water without covering the seed with soil.
  4. Leave the pots in the sun and keep watering the pots to prevent them from drying out. Seeds germinate in about 10 days.
  5. When 2-3 leaves sprout, thin them out except for healthy buds.
  6. As soon as the height of the plant reaches about 4 inches (10 cm) with 4 to 6 leaves, transfer them to plant in the ground where they receive half the sun all day.
  7. When it reaches about 15cm in height, prune the top, which encourages the plant to grow bushy.
Collage of 4 photos showing the pruning and washing of red perilla leaves

How to make red shiso juice

To properly prepare this Japanese summer drink, scroll through the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and instructions.

Trust me, you’ll want to try making this drink. It is absolutely delicious!

Collage of 4 photos showing the cooking of shiso leaves in a pot
add sugar and apple cider vinegar in shiso juice in 4 photos

More Japanese Juice and Sauce Recipes

If you liked this shiso juice recipe, here are some other recipes you will enjoy next.

Stay connected

If you liked the post or made the shiso juice and if you liked it, please leave comments below and rate the recipe.

hand holding a glass of shiso juice

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two glasses of shiso juice

shiso juice

Shiso is a versatile and prominent purple or green grass in Japan. Discover and learn its culinary uses. Also learn how to make Purple Shiso Refreshing Juice with step by step photos and video.

Course: Drinks

Food: Japanese

Preparation time ten minutes

Cooking time 5 minutes

Total time 5 minutes

Servings: ten serves

calories: 40calories

Author: Shihoko | Wands Chronicles

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Instructions

  • Prepare the shiso leaves to boil. Wash and cut the shiso leaves.

  • Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the prepared shiso leaves.

  • Lower the heat to medium and cook the shiso leaves for about a few minutes. The color of the leaves will change from purple to greenish.

  • Drain the shiso leaves with a colander and squeeze the leaves to extract as much as possible. It’s hot so be careful not to burn your fingers. I used a spoon to extract all the liquid.

  • Return the drained liquid to the saucepan and bring to a boil.

  • Add the sugar, and when the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and add the apple cider vinegar.

  • Cool it down and store it in a clean bottle in the refrigerator. If you sterilize the container in which you store the syrup, it will last about 6 months in the refrigerator.

  • To make shiso juice, place 1/4 cup of syrup in a glass and pour about 200ml of mineral water or sparkling soda water over it. Add ice cubes.

Remarks

*1 You need a colander full of shiso leaves of about 18oz or 500g. Sounds like a lot but they shrink in hot water when wilted.
*Nutritional value is for whole juice. This will differ from how the juice will be diluted.

Nutrition

calories: 40calories | Carbohydrates: teng | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 4mg | Sugar: teng | Calcium: 1mg

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