The garden produced an abundance of shiso this year (as noted in the spring sprouting of hundreds of shiso seedlings). Since the shiso is beginning to grow its beautiful flowers, which will be followed by thousands of seeds that I do not want to self-sow, I look for ways to eat lots of shiso. My current favorite is making shiso into a cool drink on these remaining hot summer days.
The first step is gathering the shiso from this prolific bed . . .
I pinched off the freshest leaves which were not bug-eaten. Usually this meant taking the leaves from the tip of each stem and branch. If any spiders or other unwanted visitors made it into the house in the bunch of shiso, I carefully took them outside again to live on for a while longer. Here’s the finished one cup of selected shiso leaves in the four cup glass container.
The next step is adding 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of honey. With 15 minutes of steeping, the water had turned a light pink color. When the lemon juice is added, the mixture deepens to a rose color.
When I allow the leaves to brew in the hot water for a longer period of time (say an hour or so), the initial color is a darker rose or purple. After the lemon juice is added, the color deepens to a gorgeous red.
After allowing the drink to cool to room temperature, I pour some of it into an ice cube tray for freezing.
Any remaining shiso drink goes in the refrigerator to chill. When the shiso ice cubes are ready, I put a few in a glass and pour the chilled shiso drink over them. The result (as shown in the top photo) is beautiful to see and delicious to drink.