Lemongrass – How to Grow It and Use It

how to grow lemongrass and tips for using it

By Anni Winings, contributing writer

I first came across lemongrass while visiting a farmer’s market in Florida while we were traveling. The little old man handed me a bunch of lemongrass stalks and said, “You put those in water and they grow again.” He picked up another stalk and showed me how to chop it and use the inner part of the lemongrass. It smelled amazing when he chopped it up, and I bought a couple of bunches of lemongrass.

Since then, I’ve used lemongrass to add a “what is that!” element to rice; to add a light, slightly spicy lemony flavor to smoothies (not to mention all its purported healing properties); and in all sorts of variations of stir-fries and soups.

As the old man promised, when I stuck the ends of the lemongrass in a jar of water, they did begin to sprout roots. I’ve moved twice since that time, and haven’t been able to take my potted plants across the borders of the new states we’ve moved to, so I’ve regrown lemongrass both from stalks found in oriental shops and from seed.

Once you get a thriving bunch established, you’ll have more lemongrass than you know what to do with.

how to grow lemongrass and tips for using it

How to Grow Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a sub-tropical plant and can’t handle hard freezing temperatures. If you live anywhere colder than about a zone 9a, you’ll want to grow your lemongrass in a pot, and bring it indoors for the winter. And even then, you might want to bring it in, just in case you get an unexpected temperature drop (the weather seems to be doing all sorts of funny things these days).

Grow your lemongrass in full sun, with plenty of water, in a rich, well-draining soil. If you’re growing it in a pot, top-dress it with compost or worm castings every couple of weeks, to make sure it’s getting plenty of nutrients.… [Continue Reading]

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

homemade cranberry sauce recipe -- you won't believe how easy it is to make it yourself!

*Slurp* *Plop!*

Ah… the lovely sound that canned cranberry jelly makes as you delicately extract it from the can…

Even back before my real food transformation, it always seemed out of place. I mean, you spent all day basting the turkey, and making the rolls, and mashing the ‘taters, only to have the last item you put on the table be this bizarre ridged cylinder of store-bought cranberry jelly. But hey– who was I to argue with tradition?

As a young newly-married cook, I had a life-changing moment: I realized you could make cranberry sauce FROM SCRATCH. (Ok, ok… I know those of you who grew up with homemade cranberry sauce are rolling their eyes right now… but you have to realize I had my head in the sand for a good many years…)

Ever since then, I look forward to making this cranberry sauce recipe every year. It’s sweet enough that you won’t pucker, but sweetened with honey and orange juice so you don’t get a sugar-rush from it either. It’s pretty much cranberry perfection. And here’s the recipe—>

homemade cranberry sauce recipe -- you won't believe how easy it is to make it yourself!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

  • 3/4 cup orange juice (about 2 large oranges if you are freshly squeezing it)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup honey (see note below) (where to buy- affiliate link)
  • 12 ounces whole cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

In a medium saucepan, combine in the orange juice, honey, and zest. Bring to a gentle boil, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the cranberries and continue to cook them until they burst and the mixture thickens (about 15 minutes).

Spoon the cranberry sauce into a mold (or bowl, or whatever you want) and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or until set.

Kitchen Notes:

  • I like to use freshly squeezed orange juice, but if that’s not available, premade orange juice will work too.
[Continue Reading]

Homestead Barn Hop #185


“Cultivating the Homestead Community”

I no longer have to wonder what it’d be like to homestead at the North Pole, because I got to experience it last week… We had subzero temperatures for most of the week and I spent a large portion of my time chopping ice and stoking the fire. Cold snaps like this aren’t uncommon in Wyoming, but it seems a wee bit early. I’m trying not to be jealous as I watch my other blogging friends still harvesting veggies from their fall gardens… Hoping it warms up a bit this week so they Prairie Kids can go outside to burn off some energy!

Now, on to the Barn Hop!

This hop is hosted by The Prairie Homestead, New Life on a Homestead and The Elliott Homestead.

Did you share any homesteading related posts on your blog this week? If so, we’d love to have you link up below! Even if you don’t have a blog, we always welcome your comments!

Some Simple Guidelines:

1. Please remember that the Homestead Barn Hop is meant to be a place to share homesteading related encouragement and inspiring ideas specifically related to homesteading. In an effort to keep our weekly round-up clutter free, links which are not specifically homestead related, and any promotions such as giveaways, contests, carnivals, etc, will be deleted in order to maintain the integrity of the Barn Hop.

2. Please remember this is a family-friendly link up. Any pictures or posts linked to the hop which aren’t appropriate for our children to view or read will also be deleted immediately. We’re pretty conservative, so we ask that you use good judgment and err on the side of caution.

3. Make sure that you link to your Barn Hop post, not your blog’s main page, so your guests won’t have any trouble finding your great tips.

[Continue Reading]

DIY Homemade Cough Drops

homemade cough drops and throat lozenges made with natural ingredients

By Stacy Karen, contributing writer

When a sore throat strikes, many of us reach for a throat lozenge to soothe the pain.

As you may have noticed,  most store-bought throat lozenges or cough drops contain unpleasant ingredients, such as food colorings and preservatives. We don’t want these chemicals in our system at the best of times, and most definitely not when we are sick.

Thankfully, homemade cough drops are quite simple to make and only contain a few ingredients (all recognizable and safe).

Making your own throat lozenges or cough drops allows you to treat a sore throat and cough naturally and is also extremely satisfying (at least I think so).

Many years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of trying to make my own cough drops–I didn’t think it was possible. Now I find real joy in knowing it is not only possible, but completely doable.

Preparing these homemade throat lozenges is so easy your kids can help (or even do it for you, depending on their age).

These particular cough drops/lozenges are especially useful for coughs and itchy throats.

About these DIY Cough Drop Ingredients

ingredients for slippery elm throat lozenges

Why Slippery Elm Bark?

Slippery elm bark comes from the Slippery elm tree which grows in many parts of the world (including North America). The inner bark is most suitable for creating herbal remedies. Slippery elm bark can be purchased ground into a fine powder and may be used as a tea, infusion, poultice, or in throat lozenges. It has also been consumed as a food (warmed with hot water and eaten as a porridge).

Slippery Elm is known to be rich in mucilage, which makes it perfect for soothing a sore throat or cough. Mucilage needs to come into contact with the irritated area in order to deliver it’s benefits, which is why we are using it to create throat lozenges.… [Continue Reading]