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All About Lemongrass

How to Buy, Store, and Use Lemongrass

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All About Lemongrass

Photo © Molly Watson

Lemongrass has a heavenly lemon-esque aroma that includes a whiff of ginger and the heady scent of tropical flowers. While it can be delicious with most anything, lemongrass is particularly delicious with chicken and seafood. Think of it as perfume for your food.

How to Buy & Store Lemongrass

The flavorful part of lemongrass is the lower stalks. It is usually sold with the leaves and upper stalks removed. Look for lemongrass that is firm and pale yellow-green and a bit of a bulb at the end. The top stalk should look relatively fresh - they tend to dry out quickly but they shouldn't be yellowed or sad looking.

Store lemongrass loosely wrapped in the fridge for up to several weeks. Or, wrap it well and freeze it. I like to chop or mince it before freezing, so it's ready to use.

How to Use & Cook Lemongrass

Lemongrass is most often used in 1- to 2-inch pieces in soups, stews, and teas. Just add the trimmed pieces of lemongrass stalk and leave in the soup or stew until it imparts the flavor you want. Remove the pieces before serving since they tend to be woody and don't make for the best eating.

Lemongrass can also be minced and added to stir-frys or rubs for grilled or roasted meats or seafood. Use only the bottom few inches for mincing, since that it the most tender part of the lemongrass stalk and will keep your dish from having woody-seeming bits in it.

Whichever way you use it, know that the longer you cook lemongrass the more intense its flavor becomes. For a flavor that is as light and delicate as its scent, add lemongrass towards the end of cooking.

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