Herbs are not only useful in the kitchen, but also in the garden. Here are 5 Japanese herbs that you can grow in your garden to add a little flavor to your life.
Why you should consider growing Japanese herbs in your garden
Herbs have been used in Japanese cuisine for centuries, and there are many varieties that can be grown in your own garden. If you are looking to add a new dimension to your cooking, or simply want to spruce up your garden, consider growing some of these delicious and versatile herbs.
Shiso : Shiso is a popular herb that is used in a variety of dishes, from tempura to sushi. It has a slightly spicy flavor and can be used as a garnish or added to salads.
Wasabi : Wasabi is best known as the green paste that is served with sushi, but it can also be used in other dishes such as tempura or sashimi. Wasabi has a strong, spicy flavor which adds a kick to any dish.
Ginger : Ginger is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking, and can be used fresh or dried. It has a sharp, spicy flavor which is perfect for adding warmth to soups or stews.
Nanohana : Nanohana are the bright yellow flowers of the rapeseed plant, and are often used as a garnish or added to salads. They have a slightly bitter taste which helps to balance out other flavors in a dish.
Chive : Chives are a type of onion with a milder flavor than their Western counterparts. They are often used as an ingredient in tofu dishes or added to soups for extra flavor.
The benefits of growing Japanese herbs
Japanese herbs offer a variety of benefits to gardeners, including pest control, improved drainage, and soil conditioning. They can also provide valuable nutrients to other plants in your garden.
Here are five Japanese herbs that you may want to consider growing in your own garden:
Houttuynia cordata – Houttuynia cordata is a fast-growing herb that is known for its ability to control pests. It can also help improve drainage and condition the soil.
Persicaria virginiana – Persicaria virginiana is another fast-growing herb that is known for its ability to reduce the populations of harmful insects in your garden. It is also high in nutrients, making it a valuable addition to any garden.
Eupatorium fortunei – Eupatorium fortunei is a slow-growing herb that produces large, white flowers. It is known for its ability to attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, which can help control pests in your garden.
Laminaria japonica – Laminaria japonica is a slow-growing seaweed that can be used as mulch or added to compost. It is rich in nutrients and helps to improve drainage and prevent soil erosion.
Sasa veitchii – Sasa veitchii is a grass that is known for its ability to prevent soil erosion and help improve drainage. It is also high in nutrients and can benefit other plants in your garden.
The top 5 Japanese herbs to grow in your garden
Shiso: Shiso is a member of the mint family and has a distinctive flavor that is often compared to cumin or anise. It is used as a seasoning or garnish in many Japanese dishes, and is particularly popular in sushi. Shiso can be grown as an annual or a perennial, and can reach up to three feet in height.
Wasabi: Wasabi is best known as the green paste that accompanies sushi, but it can also be used in other dishes such as soups or salads. Wasabi is a member of the cabbage family, and its flavor has been described as spicy, hot, and pungent. Wasabi can be tricky to grow at home, but it is possible with the right conditions. Plants prefer shady areas and need a lot of moisture to thrive.
Yuzu: Yuzu is a citrus fruit that resembles a small orange or grapefruit. It has a tart and slightly acidic flavor that is often used in dressings or sauces. Yuzu can also be used as a garnish or added to beverages for flavor. The fruit can be difficult to find fresh outside of Japan, but yuzu trees are available for purchase online.
Kamakura shiso: Kamakura shiso is a variety of shiso that has red leaves instead of green. It gets its name from the fact that it was first cultivated in Kamakura, Japan. Kamakura shiso has a slightly spicier flavor than regular shiso, and is commonly used as a garnish or seasoning in dishes such as noodles or rice bowls. Like regular shiso, kamakura shiso can be grown as an annual or perennial plant.
Makrut lime leaves: Makrut lime leaves are commonly used in Thai cuisine to add flavor to soups, curries, and stir-fries. They have a strong citrus flavor with notes of mint and lemon grass. Makrut lime trees are not winter-hardy, so they must be grown indoors in most parts of the country.
How to care for your Japanese herb garden
To care for your Japanese herb garden, you will need to water it regularly, fertilize it occasionally, and prune it as needed.
Watering: Water your garden deeply and evenly once a week, or more often if the weather is hot or dry.
Fertilizing: Fertilize your herbs every two to four weeks with a balanced fertilizer.
Pruning: Prune your herbs regularly to keep them from getting too leggy or unruly.
Tips for harvesting and using Japanese herbs
Shiso: Shiso is an herb in the mint family that is used in Japanese cuisine. It has a unique flavor that is sometimes described as a mix of basil, mint, and cumin. In the garden, shiso grows to be about 18 inches tall and can be harvested starting in late summer.
To harvest shiso, cut off the leaves about 1 inch from the stem. You can use the leaves fresh or dried in a variety of dishes including soups, stews, and stir-fries. Shiso leaves can also be used to make tea or flavor vinegar and oil.
Yomogi: Yomogi is a type of mugwort that is commonly used in Japan to make tea and flavor rice cakes. It has a pleasantly sweet flavor with earthy undertones. Yomogi grows best in partial shade and can reach up to 3 feet tall.
Harvest yomogi by cutting the leaves about 1 inch from the stem. The leaves can be used fresh or dried to make tea or added to other dishes for flavor. Yomogi leaves can also be used as a natural food coloring agent.
Gardein: Gardenia is a fragrant white flower that blooms in late spring and early summer. The flowers can be used fresh or dried to make tea or added to other dishes for flavor and aroma. Gardenias also make beautiful decoration for cakes and other desserts.
Kamakura: Kamakura are small red berries that grow on bushes in late summer and fall. The berries are often made into jam or wine, but can also be eaten fresh as a snack or added to other dishes for flavor and color. Kamakura are high in antioxidants and have been used medicinally for centuries in Japan.
Kujo Leek: Kujo leeks are a type of onion that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. They have a milder flavor than regular onions and their long white stalks can reach up to 2 feet tall in the garden. Kujo leeks are best harvested in fall or winter when they are at their fullest size.