Hardy Lemongrass

April 26th, 2012

At the risk of repeating myself again, today I’m going to write about lemongrass. For the last couple years, I’ve started lemongrass plants from grocery store stalks. You can read my previous posts ¹ ²to see how I did it, but the basic idea is to buy lemongrass at the grocery store, root it, plant it, watch it grow, eat it, and repeat the whole process next year because lemongrass is a tropical plant and won’t survive a central Virginia  winter. Or will it? Cleaning up the garden, I was surprised to find fresh green shoots at the base of last year’s lemongrass plants.

Lemongrass shoots

Lemongrass shoots, April 26, 2012

It was a warm winter, but that warm? Cymbopogon citratus is said to be native to southern India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and/or Malaysia. None of those places ever have freezing temperatures as far as I know.

But freezing is exactly what I did with last year’s lemongrass stalks. Late last fall, I cut down just two of the clumps, separated the stalks, trimmed off the top part so they’d fit in a gallon-size freezer bag, and this year I probably used more lemongrass in the winter than in the summer. I think you have to use more than recipes suggest because the freezing seems to diminish the flavor somewhat, but otherwise I don’t think you could tell the difference between frozen and fresh.


Last year's lemongrass (August 2011)

I don’t have any original ideas for using lemongrass, but I have a lot of cookbooks and Google. I found a recipe for Lemongrass Shrimp on Rasa Malaysia and have made it several times. Quick, easy and good!

Are you cooking from your garden? Or a local farmers’ market? Tell us about it! Go to greenishthumb.net and join the Garden to Table Challenge.

More as a record for myself than a recommendation for anybody else, here are a few more meals from last week with garden ingredients (shown in parentheses):

Green Chile Cheeseburgers (Sandia hot peppers from freezer, Yellow Moon Dutch Shallots, baby cilantro)

Pohe (Serrano peppers from freezer, Yellow Moon Dutch Shallots, baby cilantro)

Vietnamese Braised Meatballs [I didn’t precisely follow the linked recipe, just used for inspiration] (Yellow Moon Dutch Shallots, dried Catarina hot pepper) & Steamed Cabbage (mint/garlic vinegar)

Lemongrass Shrimp (lemongrass, Lemon Drop hot peppers from the freezer; dried red hot peppers)

2 Responses to “Hardy Lemongrass”

  1. Wendy says:

    Wow, you had all that lemongrass last year! I bought a plant which promptly died. I’ll have to try your trick of just rooting some from the store. that would certainly be cheaper! One of my mags recently just listed tons of recipes – lemongrass bars (like lemon bars) lemongrass mojito, etc…

    • entangled says:

      You can have like a jillion plants doing it that way. I think they’re really decorative too, but it takes them a while to get that tall. I read somewhere that deer don’t like tall grass – something about the motion and sound in the breeze? I don’t know if that’s true or not, but on the chance it might be true I plant way more than I can use.

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