- jobs for August - 7 tips for using lemongrass
While it’s the leaves that are fragrant in the garden, in the kitchen the star is the bottom 10-12cm or so. When you harvest (or buy) lemongrass, the stems should feel firm and heavy, not light (an indication it is too dry).
Lemongrass makes a lovely tea: cut 4-6 long green leaves, wash, then chop into 3cm lengths. Bring 2-3 cups of water to the boil, then remove from the heat. Pour over leaves and steep for 10-15 minutes, or until tea is to your taste. Sweeten with honey while hot. Can also be served cold. To guesstimate how much to use in a recipe, it’s about the same as if you were adding ginger. You can also use the woody part of the stem to make tea, or to add flavour to soup: cut off the roots and leaf, crush the woody stems, then cut into 3-5cm lengths. Add to dish during cooking, but remove before eating (or avoid eating if not possible to remove). In stir fries, use 10cm lengths of the woody end: peel off any dry outer layers so you are left with the white, tender insides of the stalk, then chop or mince finely. For a strong flavour add at the beginning of cooking, for a lighter flavour, add near the end. You can infuse vodka with lemongrass: crush 2-3 cleaned, tender stems, then add to a 750ml bottle of vodka. Leave for 3-4 days (or longer until to your taste), shaking morning and night. Remove stalks, strain vodka and serve. See page 66 for growing tips from Jane.