Want to try the superb refreshing taste of the deep red, minty drink on a hot summer day?
Then, find some red shiso leaves to make your own Red Shiso Juice from scratch.
Read on to learn about the incredible shiso leaves and a simple recipe to make red shiso juice at home.
Table of Contents
What is Red Shiso Juice made from?
Like iced tea, Red Shiso Juice is made from a homemade concentrate from red shiso leaves.
Besides the red leaves, you will need:
- some green shiso leaves
- sugar (to taste)
- and citric acid
You can refrigerate the juice concentrate for up to a year.
Then, mix it with water for a simple yet healthy drink, or make a cocktail using your drink of choice.
What is Shiso?
Shiso is an herb native to Japan commonly used to cook Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisine.
Also known as Beefsteak plant or Perilla leaves, these herby leaves have a strong aroma with a minty taste.
The standard varieties now readily available worldwide are either red or green.
You will usually notice these leaves as garnishes on your sashimi or sushi plate. Shiso leaves have antibacterial properties, which the Japanese have found helpful.
For Example – They have used them for centuries to help prevent raw seafood or fish from spoiling quickly.
Thus, although restaurants use shiso leaves to separate food items on a platter, they are also meant to be eaten.
Finding fresh shiso leaves may not be easy or cheap, depending on your location. As a result, you may discover fake green herbs on your sushi platter.
Those are meant to replicate fresh perilla leaves.
However, one can find dry or frozen options in local Japanese, Korean, and Chinese food stores.
Difference between Red Shiso vs. Green Shiso
Shiso or Perilla leaves are mainly used for culinary or medicinal purposes.
Some people confuse them with sesame leaves, but they are not related.
Shiso is a herb from the mint family and is scientifically referred to as Perilla frutescens var. Crispa. These annual plants grow in two different colors, red and green leaves.
Although the leaves differ in color, the taste is similar, with slight noticeable changes.
For example, red shiso leaves taste spicier than green shiso leaves.
In Contrast – Green shiso leaves have a crisp, fresher taste than red shiso leaves. Regardless of the unique color, both varieties add flavor to any Japanese dish that includes them.
However, because the red shiso leaf has a more robust aroma, it is perfect for garnishing salads, rice, and noodles.
Additionally, the bright red color makes natural food dye.
On the other hand, the green shiso leaf is milder and is best eaten as a vegetable. It goes well with all meats as a wrap, deep fried, or sautéed in a stir fry.
How does Red Shiso Juice taste?
Red Shiso Juice has a grassy minty, slightly sweet yet cooly refreshing taste.
The unique flavor makes it an ideal drink in summer with its abundance of health benefits.
Besides renewing your energy from the scorching heat, red shiso juice helps in digestion.
Uses of Red Shiso leaves
The red variety of shiso leaves is commonly used in food coloring.
Besides juice, these leaves make pickled ginger Beni shoga and pickled plums Umeboshi.
To make Red Shiso juice, the red leaves are boiled and then strained as the main ingredient.
After That – A reduction is made using sugar and citric or vinegar to make the concentrate.
The bright red concentrate is quite potent, so it’s best mixed with water and ice to make a glass of juice.
Benefits of Red Shiso Juice
Shiso leaves provide numerous health benefits, that’s why they are popular in Asian cuisine.
Some of the nutritional benefits include:
- Antibacterial components. For years, Shiso has been used to treat stomach and digestion-related issues. It is also recommended for pregnant women to treat morning sickness.
- Anti-inflammatory properties. It helps improve blood circulation and protect the body from swelling. In addition, the rosmarinic acid in shiso leaves helps treat food poisoning and is suitable for managing asthma and arthritis.
- Shiso leaves contain omega-3 fatty acids that build brain cells and protect the body from stroke and heart diseases.
- In addition, Shiso has antioxidant properties, and high levels of Vitamin K, A, and C. These properties help prevent damage to body cells by free radicals. They are also suitable for keeping the skin clear and young even with age.
- Antiviral components in shiso leaves help fight viruses in the body by preventing their growth.
- Shiso promotes an overall healthy immune system because of its high iron, calcium, and carotene levels.
How to make Red Shiso Juice
Red Shiso Juice is quite simple to make at home.
Source your fresh shiso leaves from the local farmers’ market or a Japanese store.
Although they are available all year, red shiso leaves are only plenty in summer, from June to July.
So remember to place your order on time and make enough concentrate to refrigerate for the rest of the year.
Red Shiso Juice Recipe
Use this recipe to make about 500 ml of Red Shiso Juice syrup.
You can then use the concentrate by diluting it with sparkling water to make several drinks.
- 500 grams of fresh red shiso leaves
- 30 pieces of fresh green shiso leaves
- 30 grams of citric acid, vinegar, or lemon juice
- A kg of processed sugar
- 2 liters of water
- Weigh your leaves separately, and then thoroughly wash them to remove any dirt or insects. If you have extra leaves, dry them with a kitchen towel and place them in a tight container in the refrigerator. They can last up to 5 days to prep other meals.
- Add the two liters of clean water to a pan and bring it to a boil. Strain excess water from the clean leaves, and boil for a minute before removing them, starting with the red leaves. Do not let the leaves cook for more than a minute, as the concentrate may turn bitter.
- Next, add the green leaves to the same water and let them boil for a minute. Then, turn off the heat and squeeze any remaining water from the leaves into the pan.
- Place a paper towel on your strainer and pour the liquid into a bowl to remove any leftover leaf particles.
- Pour the sugar and citric acid into the shiso water and stir until dissolved to make the syrup. Alternatively, depending on preference, you can use some freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Do not reduce the amount of sugar, as it is what keeps the fresh syrup longer.
- Let the juice concentrate cool down before transferring it into a jar for storage in the fridge.
- To pour yourself a glass of cold red shiso juice, mix 1 part of the concentrate with two of water. Add ice and enjoy. Add a bit of soda or spirit to make a shiso cocktail.
The flavorful Red Shiso Juice provides fantastic health benefits to your body.
Although the Japanese love to drink it in summer, you can enjoy it anytime.
To prevent wasting the used red shiso leaves, dry them, then crush them into powder.
Store the dry powder leaves known as Yukari in a spice container to make colorful rice balls or add color to pasta and salads.
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