Lemongrass: usage and storage.

What is lemongrass?

What are those and how do you use them? I often have people asking me this question when they see me grabbing bunches of lemongrass in the supermarkets. 

Lemongrass is grown in the warm tropic climates of Southeast Asia, India, Latin America and South Africa. It ‘s know by a few names: citronella grass, scurvy grass and fever grass. You could find lemongrass products in different forms from fresh, dried, essential oil.

Medicinal uses of lemongrass:

Lemongrass is one of the favorite herbs used in herbal teas. Lemongrass tea is enjoyed as a digestive aid. It soothes the stomach, relieves nausea, and prevents diarrhea and can easy symptoms of gas.

The essential oil is used to revitalize the body, relieve the symptoms of jetlag, clear headaches and help to combat nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions. It also used as natural insect repellent.

Culinary uses:

Lemongrass smells like a citrus but doesn’t taste lemony. It is described as an intense lemon scent with a hint of rose fragrance and some heat.

It goes well with everything from poultry, fish to seafood. Lemongrass is commonly used in salads, soups, curries and stir-fries. It adds a pleasant citrus scent to food. It can be eaten fresh or cooked.

Growing up in Vietnam and I remember each house hold always has a garden full of fresh herbs including lemongrass. My mum often used lemongrass to treat cold and flu for my family. She would take plenty of lemongrass with stalk and the leaves part combine with pomelo and eucalyptus leaves and few other fresh herbs in the gadern, then placed them in a pot with water and bring to boil for about 20 minutes. You sit next to the steaming pot, being cover in a big blanket to conceal the steam would cause you to sweat and felling much better right away. I still do this home steaming and a hot Tom Yam pot every time cold/flu season comes around. 

Lemongrass could be found in most supermarkets in Ireland. I always buy mine at Asian shops and Supervalu for their reasonable price. It's much easier to buy them in bunch, having them chopped up, blended and store in the freezer for later use. I use them with anything, any time I feel crave for a dish has strong flavour and the frozen chopped lemongrass becomes so handy. I substitute ginger for lemongrass sometimes when I run out or else a combination of lemongrass and ginger works wonderfully together if you like both flavours.

Storage thinly chop the soft part of the stalk, cut the green part into 1 inch size. Use a mini chopper to chop the soft part finely. Store them in zip bags and make sure the bag is flat so that you can break them lose easily after freezing. Use them straight out of the bag and you can store chili and chopped ginger the same way. 

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