Description/Taste: Micro Green shiso greens are very small in size, averaging 5-7 centimeters in length, and produce slender green stems with 1-2 broad and flat leaves that taper to a small point. The tender, ovate leaves have a serrated edge, prominent light Green veining, and a dusty green base see photo this can vary as the seed is heirloom and not always stable see photos. Micro green shiso is crisp, initially earthy and sweet, but then develops into a spicy and pungent flavor with hints of cumin, basil, anise, and spearmint. It also has an aroma that is reminiscent of cinnamon and cloves.
Micro green shiso is the tiny, young, edible version of the mature green and is typically harvested 14-25 days after sowing. Microgreens are a relatively new, trendy green seen in upscale restaurants since the 1980s-1990s. Micro Red shiso greens are most commonly consumed raw and whole without additional preparation and provide a delicate, mild flavor to dishes. Micro Red shiso is used in a variety of cuisines as a garnish and is used to elevate the taste, appearance, and texture of culinary dishes.
Applications: Micro green shiso greens are best suited for raw applications as their flavor, and delicate nature cannot withstand high heat. They are popularly used in Japanese cuisine as they offer a subtle flavor and tender texture, and can be used to garnish sushi or sashimi, sprinkled over miso soup or soba noodles, wrapped around meat, mixed in with tofu or bean curd dishes, added to stir-fries, or even steeped in green tea. Micro green shiso can also be used in fish dishes, especially fried fish, richer fish like salmon and tuna, or mixed into a crab and avocado salad. Micro green shiso pairs well with pear, apple, plums, cabbage, lemongrass, onion, lime, wasabi, mint, cilantro, melon, soy sauce, sesame, eggs, yogurt, sea urchin, fried foods, oily fish, and rice. They will keep 5-7 days when stored unwashed, in a sealed container, and in the refrigerator.
Micro green shiso is a popular ingredient for the Japanese cuisine known as kawaii, which translates to “cute” in English. The kawaii food movement involves cooking meals in miniature pots and pans over candle heat and has been increasing in popularity since 2015. Micro Red shiso is frequently used in the kawaii food trend because its miniature size lends itself to a variety of dishes and acts as a fresh, green garnish with a flavorful bite.
Shiso is native to East China where it is cultivated and has been growing wild since ancient times. In the 1850s, shiso leaves were brought to the New World, and microgreens were first grown in southern California in the 1980s-1990s. Today Micro Red shiso can be found through select distributors and specialty grocers in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
NUTRITION: Micro green shiso contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, and K.
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