Eden Shiso Leaf Powder (Pickled Beefsteak Leaf) is a delicious salty, sour table condiment made from the pickled leaves of the red beefsteak leaf, or shiso Perilla frutescens. It is made by the ancient and traditional process. Unripe, green umeboshi plums Prunus mume are first pickled with sea salt and red beefsteak leaves. The leaves turn the plums and pickling liquid red. The red liquid that is squeezed out of the plums is called umeboshi plum vinegar or 'ume su'. During the pickling process these naturally bitter leaves take on a salty, sour flavor. After several days the leaves are removed from the kegs, dried and ground into a fine powder before packaging.
Beefsteak is a delicate, bushy, annual herb related to the mint family. There are two varieties, green used mainly as a garnish for sushi, and red. The entire plant of the red variety is used in Japanese cooking and food production. It grows from 18 to 36 inches tall with leaves that often grow to be 3 to 4 inches long and almost as wide. Shiso leaves contain a natural preservative called 'perilla-aldehyde' that is documented to have over one thousand times the strength of synthetic preservatives used in food.
Eden Shiso Leaf Powder imparts a delicious salty and tart flavor to cooked grains, vegetables, salads, sushi, popcorn and potatoes. Sprinkle a small amount for added flavor and extra minerals. It can also be combined with roasted black or white sesame seeds and green nori flakes to create a variety of nutritious condiments.
Shiso Leaf Powder has properties and benefits similar to those of pickled umeboshi plums. A healthy, lower sodium alternative to table salt. Shiso Leaf Powder is thought to be especially helpful in the digestion of rice and other grains. Its bitter and tart flavor stimulates appetite.
Ancient recipes from China mention 'Zi su,' the Mandarin word for beefsteak leaves, being used as a vegetable and as a seasoning for soup. Beefsteak is referred to in ancient texts in China. There are also references to oil being extracted from the seeds of the beefsteak plant that was apparently one of the first vegetable oils. In Japan one of the first references to shiso or beefsteak leaves was in the 10th century where it was used in the preparation of pickled umeboshi plums. The red leaves are still used today in making umeboshi, giving the plums their characteristic reddish pink color.
Commercial producers of beefsteak use artificial red dye. No chemical coloring agents or preservatives are used at any time during the production of Eden Beefsteak Leaf Powder.