“We sow in late April and harvest the leaves from late June to mid-September,” Kiko Kasai tells us about the purple-tinged shiso perilla she grows in Aomori. In season she is out in the fields each morning from 4 a.m., gathering upwards of 8,000 leaves while they’re still wet with dew. To find out how this plant in the mint family is used in local cuisine, we spoke with the Hirosaki-based food historian Ryoko Kudo.
Kudo heads Tsugaru Akatsuki no Kai, a group of 28 women who research traditional recipes and cooking methods of this northern Honshu region.“In Aomori we wrap pickled plums in salt-cured shiso leaves. Sliced eggplant spread with miso and wrapped in the leaves for cooking is common, too. Versatile shiso adds color to sweets and works well in salads. Book a lunch with us to taste its many uses firsthand.”
◎Tsugaru Akatsuki no Kai
44-13 Yagishi, Ishikawa, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori
（The Cuisine Magazine /October 2019）