Lemongrass is a bushy tropical plant used for thousands of years in Southeast Asia for both culinary and medicinal purposes. The bulbous lower part of the lemongrass stalk (technically the rhizome) is white in colour and possesses the strongest concentration of lemon-scented oils (citral) and flavour. This is the part of the lemongrass that is commonly used in Thai and Vietnamese soups and curries, which imparts a subtle but sustained lemon fragrance. There are three common ways to use lemongrass: bruise whole stems to steep in simmering broth and discard before serving; finely slice the inner core of stems and add to dishes, and pureed in curry or seasoning pastes.
Lemongrass can be found in most supermarkets. Choose firm stalks; they should not be wrinkled or dry. Fresh lemongrass will keep for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator if wrapped in plastic. For longer term storage, freeze (chopped) lemongrass and use within six months.
The medicinal actions of lemongrass include anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, digestive, diuretic and stomachic. As a hot herb, lemongrass tea is used as a therapy for colds, congestion, fever, cough, sore throat and a digestion stimulant in cases of flatulence and indigestion. It can also help to relieve nausea.« Back to Glossary Index