Lemongrass is…grass with a lemony flavor! But it’s really more than that. In addition to it’s fresh flavor, various varieties contain at least 7 essential oils which are great for use in cosmetics, soaps and candles. Several are insect repellants, including borneol, geraniol and citronellol – so your lemongrass plant can actually repel mosquitoes until you get ready to eat it!
But that’s not all the good news about lemongrass because it also offers health benefits. It’s been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for years to treat inflammatory disease, cancer, hypertension and to kill bacteria. Recent Western medical studies have shown that Luteolin (one of the flavonoids in lemongrass) may be an anticancer agent for various cancers.
Where do you get it?
- Occasionally you can find fresh lemongrass in markets or grocery stores. It that case, it will probably be several stalks bound together. If you’re a gardener, you may be able to find plants early in the spring and grow your own in a pot or in your garden (like I mentioned before, some plant to keep the mosquitos away).
- If you can’t locate fresh stalks (or plants), you can purchase it dried in the herb section. Rehydrate the appropriate amount in hot water before you add it to your dish.
How to use it in your kitchen: If you find fresh stalks or you’re lucky enough to get a good harvest from your plant, freeze the stalks until you’re ready to use them. First trim the green part away, allow the stalks to dry well before wrapping in saran and placing in freezer bag. When you’re ready to cook with it, just follow instructions in the recipe or make a nice ginger-lemongrass tea (great for digestion and stress reduction! – recipe below).
Ginger Lemongrass Tea
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/4 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon sliced lemongrass
- 1 teaspoon honey
Place ingredients in teacup, add 1 cup hot water, steep for 1 minute. Enjoy.