Lemongrass – Common names include Lemon grass, Citronella, Chai ki Hari Patti…

With is lemony flavor, lemongrass is a staple in many Asian dishes ranging from soups, gravy, candy, teas and desserts. Its leaves and oil is also used for medicinal purposes.

How to use Lemongrass:

1. Discard the dry, outermost stalks and cut off the top third of the inner stalks. Keep pieces long for flavoring.  Use the entire stalk, which will be cut and prepped in different ways depending on the dish. The tough, bigger pieces of lemon grass are meant to flavor dishes. These larger pieces generally are not eaten. Consider straining large pieces out before serving. However, some people enjoy sucking on them for their flavor.

2. Trim dry and tough parts and keep only tender pieces sliced thinly for adding to salads and gravy.

3. Bruise the bulb by smashing it with the side of a wide knife or cleaver, and then mince the bulb for use in a variety of recipes. Bruising will free the aromatic oils for cooking.

4. Slice the stalk at an angle to create sections approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length. Bruise the pieces and toss them into simmered recipes such as soups.

5. Make tea with lemon grass by steeping leaves in hot water.

6. Besides being used for food Lemon grass is believed to have medicinal qualities. Herbalists have prescribed lemon grass for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including cramps, colds, influenza and aid the digestive system.

7. It is also used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, as a fragrance in deodorants, soaps, and cosmetics.

8. Lemongrass is also used in making vitamin A and natural citral.

9. It is used to nourish the hair and reduce dandruff as it prevents the growth of some bacteria and yeast.

10. Lemongrass contains citronella, a plant oil, with pest repelling properties, especially mosquitoes. Using lemongrass among your patio plantings is an excellent way to enjoy your outdoors in summer without worrying about those disease transmitting insects.

How to grow Lemongrass:

Lemongrass plants need rich, loose soil with good drainage and plenty of moisture and sunlight to thrive. Use all-purpose soil and plant your lemongrass with the crown just below the surface.

In summer, plant your lemongrass directly into your backyard to keep flies, mosquitoes, and other pests away. Make sure to water them frequently.

Bring them indoor in winter as they do not tolerate frost well.

Lemon grass can and should be trimmed regularly to keep its size in check and keep the plant healthy. Mature plants can be divided and re-potted into smaller pots to multiply your plant collection.