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
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]