If you are looking for an herb that has healing qualities, practical applications, and culinary uses, look no further than lemongrass. Although the name suggest “grass”, lemongrass does not resemble your typical yard grass but rather a scallion with its stalk-like base. It grows up to 6 feet tall in the tropics and 3 feet in the more northern climates.
Lemongrass is available in the produce section of many larger grocery store and specialty markets. Purchase firm stalks (not soft or rubbery) that are pale yellow in color at the base and green in the upper stalks. Most lemongrass is sold in groupings of 3-4 stalks. Lemongrass is not frost-hardy, so in the colder climates it should be dug and potted to be grown indoors in a sunny window for the winter.
I recently found dried lemongrass sold by the ounce from an online spice supplier. Dried lemongrass would work well in soups.
You can grow lemongrass from seed or from an existing stalk. To grow from an existing stalk, purchase a stalk from the grocery store with a few roots still attached. Place in a glass with water. Then plant in sandy-type, evenly moist soil.
Lemongrass is thought to relieve pain, reduce fever, stimulate the uterus, and have antioxidant properties. It has been used for treating digestive tract spasms, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, stomach ailments such as stomachache and vomiting, cough, muscle pain and achy joints (rheumatism), fever, the common cold, and exhaustion.
Lemongrass has insect repellant properties and is an ingredient in citronella.
The stalks and leaves of the lemongrass are widely used in culinary in different Asian countries. It is an important ingredient in Oriental cooking as this superb lemon-aromatic is a culinary delight. Vietnamese and Thai recipes use lemongrass in soups, sauces, curries, and fish dishes. Chinese, Indonesian and Malayan recipes incorporate lemongrass into marinates for grilled meats and fish.
Below are a few recipes that may interest you if you are new to lemongrass.