Shiso Juice in Shoji Toyonaka


I became good friends with the Shoji Toyonaka Kaikan (community centre) caretakers.  I call them “okaasan” and  “otoosan” which means “mom” and “dad” in Japanese.  Sometimes after teaching ballet lessons we sit together and chat with a cup of coffee and rice cracker snacks or sometimes Okaasan has  a bag full of freshly picked vegetables ready to give me from their garden!  Crunchy cucumbers, ripe mini-tomatoes and garden greens are so rare and enjoyable.  I usually am hungry after ballet so I’m happy!  Every week I give them something I know they like such as Ohagi (sweet bean rice sweets) and Kit-Kat chocolates.

One day in June this year, Okaasan decided to make Shiso juice.  I’ve never had this in my life.  The juice was a purple-red colour and ice-cold in a glass.  It tasted sweet and sour and like cherries.   But what surprised me most was how refreshing it was!  I felt re-vived.

Okaasan was happy to hear how much I love Shiso juice.  She answered all my questions about how to make Shiso juice.  The shiso leaves are boiled in water for awhile and then you add sugar.  When you drink it you dilute the concentrated juice with ice water!  It’s a seasonal treat because shiso leaves are not found in grocery stores all year round.  In Canada, we drink sweetened lemon juice!   Canadians like to drink it on hot summer days.

shisojuiceCan someone tell me Shiso juice can be bought somewhere?  In the meantime I also like to drink Ume juice which is juice made from Japanese apricot-like plums.

Enjoy your summer holidays!




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