Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Green Grows the Shiso!

While early in summer, after the rainy season, is the best time to gather shiso leaves for drying and other preserves, it's not too late...and for coughs, including the green seed-heads makes a better brew.

For that "I think I'm coming down with..." feeling, a cup of tea made with red shiso leaves (I dry mine and keep a bag in the freezer) is warming and soothing.

Green shiso seems to be even better for the cough stage, though. This is my favorite shiso in shochu - drink in hot water for coughs, or with water and/or ice as a tipple.


1.8 liter pack of White Liquor 

Green shiso leaves and fresh seeds or flowering tops: 130 dried leaves, 200g fresh. 

150-200g rock sugar or 1c honey

70g ginger (sliced)

4 lemons – Peel, remove pith, slice over a glass or china bowl. Discard pith and pips.

Place all ingredients in a large glass jar. Boil a saucer to sterilize and use to weight down floating leaves if necessary. Remove lemon and ginger (you can also make this liqueur without them) after 1-2 months, and leave shiso leaves at least 3 months.

For coughs, sip 20 ml straight or dilute with hot or cold water, once or twice daily.


 White Liquor contains about 35% alcohol, while ordinary shouchuu contains 20-25%.

Leaves: Use around 130 leaves semi-dried (pull up plant soon after rainy season, hang in airy shade 2-3 days), or around 200g fresh leaves. Don’t chop the leaves up.

Strain through gauze, and take 20 mls daily. (Most herbal liqueurs are safe up to 4 times this amount split into 2 daily doses). 

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