Guide to Saving Perilla Seed
SEED LIFE: 1 year
ISOLATION DISTANCE: 800 metres
PLANT SPACING (for seed harvest): 80cm
Perilla (also known as 'Shiso') is a wonderful leafy vegetable which is widely used in Japanese cooking or simply added to salads or rice dishes for a strong peppery flavour.
WHEN TO HARVEST
Wait until the whole bush dies and starts to turn brown which indicates that seed is mature and ready to harvest. Choose a dry, sunny day with little moisture in the air and little wind. It is best to harvest the seed as soon as possible after bush begins to brown as seeds are contained in little 'cups' which are easily emptied on a windy day.
STEP 1: HARVESTING SEED
The seed may be removed simply by using a bucket with high sides and tipping the branches (still on the bush) into the bucket and shaking vigorously. This is an easy option as it leaves very little debris making them easier to clean, and can also be very enjoyable & a great way to release any pent up emotions! :0) It's surprising the amount of seed you can get from just one bush!
Best results are achieved if this step is done on a dry day with little moisture in the air. When seed 'cups' are dry, any mature seed will easily fall out and into the bucket.
For larger quantities, whole branches may be cut and laid onto a tarp and threshed allowing the tarp to collect all fallen seed.
STEP 2: SEPARATE THE SEEDS FROM THE CHAFF
At this stage, we need to somehow remove the plant material from the actual seed. There are a couple of options..... (1) remove by hand picking out all the chaff (effective but not very time efficient and HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED!!!), or (2) cleaning using a sieve (certainly the most effective method and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!)
Shake the bucket a few times and swish around allowing the heavier seed to fall to the bottom with the lighter plant material rising to the top. For larger quantities this step may also be done on a tarp using hands to 'fluff up' the mixture.
STEP 3: SIEVING TO CLEAN
Place chaff and seed mix into a fine sieve and shake. This should let any smaller chaff fall through and any larger and lighter chaff to rise to the top. Remove the larger chaff by hand or by blowing across the top of the sieve. Keep sieving and removing top chaff until relatively clean. Use a series of different size sieves - some to allow small seed to fall through and others to separate finer material from the seed. When only seed is left, place onto a wooden tray, plate, cardboard tray or similar, place in a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight and leave to completely dry for approx. 2-3 weeks. If suitable size sieves are not available, remove lighter plant material by winnowing in front of a fan.
STEP 3: STORING SEED
Store seed in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.