Lemon Grass

Cymbopogon Citratus

Lemon grass is a tall, sturdy grass native to Southern Asia. With fringed tips and a bulbous root, lemon grass can grow up to two feet in height. Combining the fresh zing of citrus fruit with a hint of ginger, lemon grass is an essential flavor in traditional Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Malaysian, and Indonesian cooking.

Lemon grass is a delicious addition to homemade curries, noodle soups, and even smoothies. Because lemon grass has a woody and somewhat stiff stalk, only the tenderest section of the stalk—the bottom two to three inches—should be used directly in cooking; other parts of the stalk are fine for steeping in stocks and stews but should be removed before service. Even the bottom portions of lemon grass stalk should be peeled and thinly sliced before use or pounded with a wooden rolling pin and then diced in order to soften them. Here's more information about processing lemon grass.

Lemon grass is a good source of Vitamin C, and it can be used to make a vibrantly flavorful, slightly spicy tea. For a rejuvenating cup of lemony-warmth, try steeping a two-inch length of lemon grass and some fresh mint leaves in boiling water for two minutes; add lemon and honey; then, sit back and enjoy.

Because lemon grass is native to tropical climates, it may not be successful out of doors if winter weather reaches temperatures below 45 Fahrenheit. If you are going to try planting lemon grass outside, plant seeds a foot apart in moist, sandy soil that gets plenty of sun in early spring. Plants can be potted and brought in doors to help them weather the winter chill. Placed near a window that lets in lots of light, lemon grass can do fairly well indoors.

Containing citral, the same citrusy-smelling oil that gives lemon peel its distinctive scent, lemon grass is used in many common household products, including air fresheners, candles, and soaps.

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Fish Chowder

This simple and filling potato and white fish stew gets extra flavor from chives, lemon grass, and dill. Of course, the bacon and leeks don’t hurt either. This is the kind of home-cooked meal that sticks to your ribs and stays in your memory.

Recipesbay leaveschivesdillgluten freelemon grassmain coursesmediumsoups
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Thai-style Shrimp Curry

With classic South Asian flavors including lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and ginger, this shrimp and coconut curry is a delicious and impressive main course. Serve over white rice and garnish with cilantro, mint, chopped peanuts, and a lime wedge.

Recipescilantrocurrygarlic chivesgluten freelemon grasslime leavesmain coursesmintmoderate
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Thai Stir Fry

Combining lemon grass and chives with fresh fish and plenty of healthy vegetables, this Thai stir fry is a one pot meal that easily feeds a family of four. Served over noodles, it’s a delicious and fun way for kids and parents to eat their veggies.

Recipesbasilchivesdifficultgluten freelemon grassmain courses
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Avocado & Shrimp Salad

Avocado and Shrimp Salad

The verdant richness of avocado pairs perfectly with the seaside savor of fresh shrimp. This salad gets a kick from lemon grass and fresh lime juice which give it plenty of extra tang.

Recipeschivesgluten freelemon grassmediumparsleysalads
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Herbed Cheese Sauce

Herbed Cheese Sauce

The creamy, richness of this four cheese sauce is perfectly balanced by the fresh lightness of chives, dill, and lemon grass. Serve over pasta tossed with roasted chicken, grilled shrimp, or seared sea scallops. Seafood blend fresh herbs may be found in the produce department of your grocery store.

Recipeschivescondimentsdillgluten freelemon grassmain coursesmediumseafood blendvegetarian
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  • Quicktips for lemon-grass:

    • For a cool, refreshing complement to grilled Tuna, toss equal parts peeled cucumber, melon, 1 stalk thinly sliced LEMON GRASS, 1 T. finely minced cilantro and the juice from ½ lime.
    • Slice and use as a garnish over raw asparagus drizzled with vinaigrette.
    • To make a fruity glaze on pork tenderloin, on low heat mix 2 stalks of finely chopped lemon grass to one 10 oz. jar of blueberry preserves and add 1 clove minced garlic.  Baste and bake.
    • Just one stalk chopped can add a pop to plain chicken salad.
    • Toss thinly sliced with cabbage to jazz up your everyday slaw recipe.