Have you recently picked up cooking as a hobby? Do you like to include lemongrass in your culinary experiments? Well, for me, this herb always hits the sweet spot, and I like its lemony taste in my herbal tea,too. On a similar note, it also helps me prepare mouthwatering soups. Because I always buy lemongrass in bulk, I have learned how to freeze this plant.
A Brief Overview of Lemongrass
Lemongrass is a perennial grass that grows in the sub-tropical and tropical climates of Africa, Asia, and Australia. Similar to bamboo in appearance, lemongrass stalks grow in clusters and they can reach as high as 10feet.
How to Freeze Lemongrass
There are several methods to store lemongrass. By following these tips, you can keep it fresh during the winter season and use it throughout the year.[i]
Tips to Collect the Lemongrass
If you are growing lemongrass in your garden, follow these tips:
- Collect the lemongrass in the morning. Pick a time when the morning dew has dried.
- Separate any dry or diseased leaves because they can damage the healthy ones.
- Use cold water to rinse your collection of lemongrass.
- Wash off the dirt and remove anyinsects. Next, use the paper towels to dry off the leaves.
Tips Freeze the Lemongrass
- Cut the outer leaves and top part of the lemongrass.You’ll only need the bottom part for cooking. However, this is not to say that the top parts don’t carry any purpose. You can use them to make tea or bag up to use in marinades.
- You can now puree, mince, or chop the bottom part of the lemongrass.
- Ideally, lemongrass is preserved properly when it is frozen in small amounts, so keep this in mind.
- Wrap the lemongrass with a plastic wrapper and place it in a sealed jar, double freezer bag, or a plastic freezer container. Doing this prevents the lemongrass from getting dry or absorbingany existing odors from the freezer. If your plan is to preserve the lemongrass for several months, then you can use a vacuum pack to freeze it.
- Separate the inner green leaves, chop or scissor them, and freeze them in another sealable bag.
How is lemongrass used?
Lemongrass is one of the most versatile herbs out there. It can be used in the following foods.[ii]
Lemongrass is added to tisanes or herbal teas. You can take dried or fresh lemongrass and simmer gently. You can break down dried leaves or chop the fresh leaves. A measured cup of hotwater requires around one teaspoon of lemongrass leaves. Turn this into an iced herbal tea and garnish with cucumber or peach nectar.
Due to the therapeutic benefits of lemongrass, it is found in a wide range of tea blends, especially in green tea variants. Similarly, it is a common ingredient in detox teas. In many places, you can find it in the Americanized masala chai spice mixtures.
Lemongrass is becoming a popular component in alcoholic beverages in the U.S. You can combine it with ginger to make a tequila infusion, or you can add ginger ale, gin, and mint to create the Soho cocktail. When experimenting with herbal drinks, you will realize that lemongrass can be used in a lot of wonderful recipes with pear, cucumber, chili peppers, and coconut milk. Fresh stems can serve as a natural straw in your drinks. Try our Lemonade with Lemongrass and Ginger here.
Lemongrass is added to a wide variety of food recipes. It is a common ingredient in Asian cuisines, particularly Thai foods. As it is fibrous, you have to mince it finely. If you have put larger leaves in the pot, take them out before you serve the food. If you’ve been to a Thai place and eaten Tom Yum—a vegetable and shrimp soup that contains garlic, kaffir lime, coconut milk, and red chili peppers—you may have noticed the slices of woody lemongrass floating in your soup. It adds delicious lemony tang, but you don’t want to eat these stems. Spoon them out and lay them on the plate.Here is how you can make it. If soups are your thing, then you can play more with lemongrass by making the Thai chicken noodle soup and the Thai carrot soup.
Lemongrass complements seafood and chicken nicely. Try to add it in the Thai lemon-lime shrimp or make the roasted lemongrass chicken with it. It pairs just as well with lamb, pork, and beef. You can attempt to cook the lemongrass lambchopswith it.
How long does fresh lemongrass last?
If you store the lemongrass in the fridge, then it can last for 10 to 14 days.[iii] In the freezer, it can last for more than six months. Make sure that you freeze the lemongrass at 0°F for the best results. I kept stalks that had dried out in my fridge for weeks. They became harder and harder to cut but I peeled off the outer skin before cutting up.
How long does dried lemongrass last?
If dried lemongrass is stored in the right conditions, it is safe to use for 2-3 years. [iv] To make sure that it retains its essence and increase shelf life, use tight-fitting containers for storing lemongrass. You can also use it after the expiration date (specified on the package label). Unlike the fresh lemongrass, dried lemongrass never spoils. However, it does lose out on its flavor over time. This is why proper storage is necessary with dried lemongrass. To check whether lemongrass is still potent, crush some part of it in your hand, then taste and smell it. If the flavor is barely noticeably or if the aroma is faint, then you should go for a new stock of dried lemongrass. I once kept stalks that had dried out in my fridge for weeks. They didn’t rot and still had some scent. They became harder and harder to cut but I peeled off the outer skin before cutting up into 2-inch stems and simmered them in my soups and stir fries. I find it delicious in my egg roll mixtures, too.
Interestingfacts about lemongrass
- Lemongrass oil is used in the production of repellents to counter a wide range of bugs, such as houseflies and mosquitoes.[v]
- Lemongrass contains citral, which is used to make perfumes for its lemony scent.
- In the Caribbean, lemongrass is popular for treating cold/flu and fever. This is why it has earned the moniker “fever grass” in that region.
- You can buy lemongrass paste in the produce section of some grocery stores. These add an intense flavor, so use sparingly. According to the makers of Gourmet Garden, this tube can be stored in the refrigerator and used for up to three months.