Perilla leaves also called “KkaenNip” (깻잎) are broadly referred to all the leaves of sesame, but among them, the leaves of perilla are used as food. Perilla is a crop grown to extract oil, and perilla leaves are harvested during growth and eaten for food. The place of origin is estimated to be Southeast Asia, and it is cultivated in Korea and China and is rarely cultivated in other countries. Perilla leaves are so nutritious that they are called “the best medicine on the table,” and their fragrant and soft texture enhances the taste buds in summer. It is used as a variety of side dishes, such as Ssam (쌈) vegetables, steamed perilla leaves, and pickled perilla leaves, and is an indispensable ingredient in Korean cuisine.
■ Scientific Name: Perilla frutescens
■ Classification: Lamiaceae
■ English Name: Perilla
■ Korean Name: 깻잎 (KkaenNip)
■ Origin: Southeast Asia
■ Cultivation Condition:
ㅇ Perilla leaves will grow fully in partial sunlight, but should be planted outdoors after all the threat of frost has passed.
ㅇ It needs well-drained soil and warm temperatures to grow well.
ㅇ It is best to choose a loam rich in organic matter as the cultivation soil. It is possible to sow seeds all year round, and it is convenient to sow between March and May in the case of home cultivation.
■ Physiological Characteristics:
ㅇ It is an annual plant with perilla leaves that grow to 3-4 inches long and 2-3 inches wide.
ㅇ The leaves are broad oval, with a pointed tip and serrated edges.
ㅇ It is aromatic with a strong mint-like smell.
ㅇ The leaves are green with occasional touches of purple on the underside.
■ Sowing and Planting Seedlings:
ㅇ Gremination Temperature: 59-68˚F / 15-20˚C
ㅇ Seed Depth: ¼ – ½ “/ 0.6 cm – 1.2 cm
ㅇ Seed Spacing: 1- 2 ” / 2.5 cm – 5 cm
ㅇ Plant Spacing: 6 – 8 ” / 15 cm – 20 cm
ㅇ Row Distance: 14 – 20 ” / 36 cm – 50 cm
ㅇ Maturity Days: 50 Days
■ How to Grow:
❍ When starting sowing indoors:
– If starting perilla seeds indoors, start seeding them about 2 months before transplanting outdoors.
– Seeds can take one to three weeks to germinate. (Perilla seeds, like most other seeds, should be started indoors.)
– Place the seeds in moist potted soil. Do not cover the seeds too much with soil as they need some light to germinate.
– Once planted, place the seeds in a warm place to facilitate the germination process. When the seeds reach a height of 3 inches, it is time to move them outdoors.
– Seedlings should be placed in rows about 1 foot apart. Their planting should be in a well-drained soil.
❍ When starting sowing outdoors:
– When sowing seeds directly on the ground, do not cover the seeds. This is because germination requires sunlight.
– It can take almost two weeks for the seeds to start to germinate. Once germinated, thin the seeds about a foot apart. These will be large plants, so they need plenty of space to grow.
❍ Grouwing Tip:
– It is important to note what else is planted near the perilla. Larger plants have a larger root system. These roots can spread out and cause problems with the root system of plants placed around them. For the same reason, perilla is not the best plant for container gardens.
– If you prefer container gardening and want to grow perilla, the container must be large enough to support the size of the plant and its root system.
– As weeds grow, plants must compete for nutrients. Avoid this by regularly weeding the area where perilla is growing so that the plants get everything they need.
– Mulching around the perilla will prevent weeds from growing and will help the plant retain moisture.
– It requires about an inch of water per week.
– Use the deep watering method. Instead of watering a little every day, water a lot a few days a week.
– Water early in the day. This will allow the plants to dry sufficiently before the cool nights arrive. Wet leaves and cool night air are great breeding grounds for mold and disease to form on plants.
– Fertilize once a month, block the plant’s flowers to promote new growth, and remove the top of the plant. If you don’t pinch the tops, the plant will grow taller and thinner.
– Harvesting is usually possible about 8 weeks after sowing.
– At this point, the plant should be about 8 inches tall. When these two requirements are met, the plant is ready for harvest.
– Harvest the plant using scissors to remove the leaves.
■ Nutritional Value:
❍ It contains more than twice the iron content of spinach, and also contains abundant minerals such as calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
❍ Chlorophyll is effective in gastrointestinal disorders such as anorexia, diarrhea, and constipation.
❍ It is also rich in vitamin K, which acts to coagulate blood, and is known to help prevent cancer and various adult diseases.
❍ Salad, Side-dishes, Jeon, To Wrap with Korean B.B.Q, Garnish, Soup, Etc.
❍ It contains aromatic essential oils such as Perillaaldehyde, limonene, peryl ketone, and is often used as a leaf vegetable because it has a unique flavor that arouses the taste buds. In particular, it is often used for wrapping with lettuce because it is often eaten as a wrap to remove the smell of meat and fishy smell.
❍ In addition, it is eaten as a side dish for fragrant herbs, pickles, sesame leaf kimchi, etc.
❍ In addition, sesame leaf wine is soaked and used for medicinal purposes.
❍ To eat fresh sesame leaves, choose ones that have shiny, vivid, light green stems, have clear, glossy, and brittle thorns attached to them, and have clear edges.
❍ Dotted black holes should be avoided as they have been stored for a long time in a wet state.
❍ When using for greens, it is better to use small leaves on young stems because mature sesame leaves have a bitter taste.