If you’ve ever sipped on a cup of tea with that zingy, yet earthy citrus note, or chowed down on a sweet, yet herbal plate of Thai chicken, chances are it was lemongrass you were tasting.
More calming than your traditional squeeze of lemon, lemongrass, also known by its Latin title cymbopogon citratus, is actually in the grass family.
Despite its stalk’s resemblance to the spring onion (or scallion), lemongrass is more similar to a grassy field or your front lawn! Native to Sri Lanka and Southern India, lemongrass has been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal herb and a bug repellant.
You might also be surprised to know that the lemongrass plant can actually reach up to 10 feet (about 3.5 meters) in height. That’s over 3 feet taller than an average human male!
Today, with the boom of Asian-style restaurants and tea shops, the popularity of lemongrass is at an all-time high. Not only can this fragrant herb be used in a number of ways – from soothing soups to powerful chicken dinners – but it can most certainly be stored in a variety of manners, as well!
So, let’s all grab our lemongrass and make it last!
How Do You Store Lemongrass?
Like most herbs, lemongrass can be stored in a number of different ways. Traditionally, after harvesting, you may want to keep your lemongrass in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
So, all you’ve gotta do is wrap it up in a damp paper towel, cloth, or plastic wrap and stick it in there for up to two weeks.
You may also want to store it with other herbs already in the fridge. If so, you can place your lemongrass, along with your other greens, in a water-filled cup. Just make sure to change the water every few days to prevent a slimy surprise.
Keep in mind that lemongrass is very fibrous, so it will last a long time, compared to any other herbs you have in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Lemongrass?
Alternatively, you may have already used all the lemongrass you can handle, but don’t want to get rid of the rest just yet. If this is your dilemma, just freeze it.
Whether you have leftover whole stalks or slices, you’re going to want to remove all the leaves first. Then, wrap your lemongrass in plastic wrap and place the stalks into a frost-free container.
Mark the container with the date on which you froze it, and thaw for use. Your frozen lemongrass can last you up to six months, so no worries if you don’t want to use it all right away.
Although the aroma might not be as strong the longer it’s frozen, your lemongrass will still provide that citrusy pop you’re looking for once thawed.
Another thing you should be aware of, the freezer will soften lemongrass a little. This may be good or bad, depending on your preference. If you’re going to eat it, then it might be better that it’s softer, as it will go down easier.
Can You Dry Lemongrass?
Now, perhaps you know you’ll forget about your lemongrass tucked away in the freezer, or maybe you just want it to last even longer than six months. If this sounds like you, try drying it.
Dried lemongrass can last you up to a year, and it’s very simple to do. Just cut the fresh stalks and/or leaves into smaller pieces, place them in a dry area on a paper towel, and wait.
Within a few days, your lemongrass should be crumbly and devoid of all liquid. In this state, you can transfer it into a jar or container away from all moisture.
If you want to get dried lemongrass faster, you can add the tiny pieces to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and set it to dry in a hot oven.
Set your oven to 120 C/250 F or as low as it will go. Set it too high and you will crisp them, instead of dehydrating them. If you want. you can then grind the dried lemongrass to get your own home-made pownder.
Revisit your dried lemongrass whenever you want that extra lemony zing in one of your dishes!
Can You Store Lemongrass in Other Forms?
Whether you enjoy lemongrass for its scent, flavor, or both, you might be wondering if there’s any other way to store it than simply to tuck it away. If this question is on your mind, you are in luck.
If you are a tea connoisseur, perhaps you’d like to make your own homemade lemongrass tea. If so, all you have to do is use the steps above for drying lemongrass, and then place the dried pieces into your favorite tea canister.
If you have a steeper, scoop the dried lemongrass into your tea pot. If you’d like to make individual tea bags, divide the dried lemongrass into one tablespoon groupings, cut up a coffee filter, place the dried pieces onto the filter, fold, staple at the top, and steep to enjoy!
Another option for storing lemongrass is to make it into a paste. This hack is aimed towards those looking to make a dish featuring lemongrass, such as a lemongrass sauce or marinade.
All you’ve got to do is throw the stalks (and leaves if you want!) into a food processor, add a bit of water, and blend. What you’ll get is a fresh-smelling, lemongrass paste you can either use right away or freeze.
To store, just divide the paste into an ice cube tray and freeze for up to six months. Simply thaw whenever your chicken dish needs some extra flare.
Read Also:Here’s What Lemongrass Tastes Like
How Do You Propagate Lemongrass?
If none of these lemongrass storage hacks have called out to you, you may want to try this last one. Whether you’re an avid gardener or simply a lemongrass lover, try propagation.
Propagation, in horticultural terms, is the word used to describe the reproduction of a plant from parts of the original plant. Unlike some other plants, lemongrass is actually quite easy to propagate.
To propagate lemongrass, simply take the stalks and place them into a cup filled with around 2 inches of water. Change the water every other day to prevent diseases.
After a little over a week, you’ll begin to see roots coming out your lemongrass stalk! Once the roots are numerous, transfer your new lemongrass plant to a pot! Soon enough, you’ll begin to see new, fresh lemony leaves growing from the stalks!
Congratulations! You’ve just propagated lemongrass! So, what are you going to do with your new beautiful herb now? Well, you might need to store those stalks. Don’t worry, though! Now, you know exactly how to store your lemongrass!