MnE 27 Perilla

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    Perilla frutescens… One of my favorite things to munch here on the farm. I really like the flavor of the leaves, minty. Perilla is in the mint family – Lamiaceae. It’s used extensively in Asian cooking today and far into history.

    Borrowed from the net…
    “Perilla oil is obtained by pressing the seeds of perilla, which contain 35 to 45% oil. In parts of Asia, perilla oil used as an edible oil is valued more for its medicinal benefit than its flavor. Perilla oil is a very rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. As a drying oil similar to tung oil or linseed oil, perilla oil has been used for paints, varnishes, linoleum, printing ink, lacquers, and for protective waterproof coatings on cloth. Perilla oil can also be used for fuel.”

    From the best sources I can find Perilla was brought over in the 1800’s with Asian immigrants. It now grows wild in almost every state east of the Rockies and Washington state.

    Several years ago I bought hay during a severe drought. The next year this weed appeared. I spend 1 to 2 days a year bush hogging acres of it. Last summer I learned this weed is Perilla. It’s now a lemons to lemonade situation. Perilla has uses.

    I bought a hand crank oil seed press by Piteba (good press). I intended to harvest perilla seed and press oil. I had no idea when to harvest. I missed the right time by a day. We had a heavy fall rain. All the seed dropped during the storm.

    The seed is inside a husk. I was guessing it would dry and hold the seed. I was wrong, it peels back as it dries and drops the seed. I actually harvested a 5 gallon bucket of seed heads but the moisture content was too high. I decided to wait a week, then I got the rain and no seed.

    Here it doesn’t like to grow in full sun. It stays in shady areas and along the edge of pastures. Might be different in northern climates.

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