DURING our recent visit to Taiwan Leisure Farms (June 15-21), we spotted an interesting herb in the herbal garden of Fu Wan Leisure Farm as well as in the Natural Garden Restaurant, both in Pingtung county, Southern Taiwan.
Perilla is a robust herb that comes in two colors. One has purple leaves while the other has pure green foliage. They are useful in several ways. According to the write up in the garden, Perilla leaves can be eaten raw or grilled. The roots, flowers, seeds and oils can also be eaten, made into pickles, sauces and dips.
The green Perilla is best for eating raw while the purple one is more suitable for pickling and making vinegar. The whole plant is claimed to contain volatile aromatic oils and is loaded with iron.
Perilla also makes an attractive potted ornamental plant.