Shiso, also known as Perilla, is a floral tasting herb that is most often used in Japanese cuisine. Sushi chefs use Green shiso under sashimi. Ume boshi (pickled Japanese apricots) is cured with red shiso. It’s a versatile herb but not one that pairs well with other herbs. Believe me, we’ve tried.

Shiso is just too unique. The only herb it seems to like to be around is, oddly, rosemary. That recipe comes later.

So, what to do with shiso? Oh lots. We make salts, infuse vodka, pickle apricots and on and on.

This summer our Farm grew cucumbers for a local distiller. We grew so many cucumbers (despite the wildfires) that even our faithful farm bin subscribers were getting wary of them. So we pickled a bunch with shiso. A new house favorite was born.

Armenian cucumbers are the best choice for this recipe because they’re skin is smooth and mildly flavored–you avoid any potential passive flavor clash. The flesh is firm and maintains a surprising crispness for months and months.


Makes: 1 quart jar
Keeps: Refrigerator–3 months ; Jar–1 year
Time: 20 minutes

1 Lb sea salt
1 Armenian 10″-long Cucumber
1 cup fresh red shiso leaves
2 cups rice vinegar
1 cup water
1/8 cup salt

3 tsp = 1 TBSP
2 TBSP = 1 ounce
1 cup = 8 oz
1 cup = 1/2 pint
4 cups = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
16 cups – 1 gallon

If you are new to picking and canning, read the notes first.
Wash the cucumber and trim off the ends.
Cut the cucumber to 5″ long sections.
Cut the cucumber lengthwise into 8ths
(halve the 6″ sections, halve the halves, halve those halves)
Line a sterilized canning jar with shiso leaves
Fill the canning jar with cucumber spears and put the jar in the sink
Boil vinegar, water and salt together to make a brine
Pour the brine into the jar, it should fill the jar to the bottom of the neck.
Lid and ring the jar and let it cool on the counter.

As always in the kitchen, wear closed toed shoes, long sleeves and an apron.
Always wash the jars with soap and rinse them with hot water.
Sterilize your jar by immersing it in roiling hot water for 2 minutes.

Just after the jar is filled, place the lid on the jar and then tighten the ring just enough for it to be secure.
Once the jar is cool, tighten the ring completely.
More brine is better than less. If you haven’t packed your jar with cucumber, add an additional 2/3 cup vinegar and 1/3 cup of water to the brine pot.

Two words: Tuna Poke