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shopping: two varieties
Cymbopogon citratus


plant overview
versatile and adaptable

Lemongrass is a perennial grass that grows in clumps and produces long, slender stems. As a native and cultivated crop of northern India, lemongrass is a popular culinary herb in Asian cuisine and used to add lemony flavor to soups, stews, curries and vegetable and rice dishes. Lemongrass has many other uses, however, not the least of which is to make an excellent tea. The herb is also used in perfumery and to make various cosmetics, including soaps, lotions and creams. Lemongrass is also blended with resins and other herbs for use as incense and is added to potpourri mixtures. Due to the presence of certain volatile oils in the leaf, lemongrass is also used as a natural insect repellent.

Clicking "learn more" next to each variety will take you to individual product pages for details.
A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information for lemongrass

Lemongrass is a tall, aromatic, perennial grass of the Poaceae family with culms (stems) up to 2 m tall.

The leaves are linear, up to 1 m long and 2 cm wide, tapering towards the sheath. They are also smooth and hairless, white on the upper surface and green beneath. The ligules (appendage between the leaf sheaf and blade) are less than 2 mm long, and are rounded or truncate. The inflorescence is a loose, nodding panicle, about 60 cm long and reddish to russet in color. They are tinged with purple. Leaves have sharp edges.

common names & nomenclature
The word lemon may be Middle Eastern in its origin.

The common names with “lemon” are referring to the lemon scent of the leaves.

Also known as:
lemon grass, lemongrass, oil grass, tanglad, sereh, citronella

Where in the World
habitat and range for lemongrass
Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting lemongrass

Prefers a sunny position in a grassland habitat with plentiful water when in growth and a temperature no lower than about 10°c in the winter, though we have heard reports that it can tolerate the occasional light frost.

Grows best in a moist, well-draining soil.

Lemongrass is not typically grown by seed, since it is so easy to grow by root cuttings or divisions. Divide the plants in fall or spring and place new plants directly in the garden bed. When you dig the holes for the plants, mix in some compost or well-aged manure to help enrich the soil.

You can trim leaves from the plant any time once the plant is at least a foot tall. To harvest entire stalks, use a sharp knife to slice each one off at the soil level. Take the outer stalks first, and they should be at least 1/2 inch thick before you cut them. Try not to just break them off or you could damage the rest of the plant. You may have to peel off the tougher outer leaves before use.

Store the entire stalk with leaves in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for several days. Keep it in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel for the best results. Chopped pieces of the stalk can be frozen or dried for later use. Store dried leaves in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

The Rest of the Story
lemongrass history, folklore, literature & more

lemongrass flavor notes
A tart citrus like flavor with notes of pepper.

culinary uses for lemongrass
In cooking it is prized for its lemon flavor which is similar to lemon zest due to the same high citral levels it shares with lemon rind. Lemongrass is used fresh or dried to flavor curries, stir-fries, pickles, soups, stews and salads.

The plant is also prepared as tea, either alone or in combination with other herbs. In fact, in the Malabar coastal area of southern India, lemongrass tea is locally known as Chukku Kaapi, which means, "dried ginger coffee."

Lemongrass is also commonly used to season coconut milk in which chicken or fish is poached. Dried and ground lemongrass is a seasoning commonly referred to in some parts of India as Sereh powder.

other uses for lemongrass
The essential oil of lemongrass can be used in aromatherapy and is also used to create perfumes. Somewhat paradoxically, using the essential oil on your body works as a very effective insect repellent.

traditional lemongrass usage
anti-insect perfumery
In tropical Asia the tangy taste of lemongrass is immensely popular; possibly cultivated in history as a flavorful stand-in for the hard to find citrus fruit.

The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians used lemongrass to make medicines and cosmetics. The herb also has applications in aromatherapy and perfumery.

Cymbopogon citratus is the species most often used in cooking, although lemongrass shares similar insect-repelling properties with many of its botanical cousins, including C. nardus, more commonly known as citronella. Both species are used in the production of candles and soaps formulated to keep mosquitoes at bay.

farming and processing
Though native to India and Sri Lanka, this subtropical grass produces long imposing 1 1/2-to-3 foot slightly sticky blade-like leaves and is now cultivated in tropical areas all over the world. It has stems that resemble scallions. The citrus-like aroma that gives rise to the plant's name isn't readily detectable until the stems are cut. It grows in tight clumps that exand in size each year. The tips can be tinted pale green or orange-red at various stages and it is rarely seen to flower.

It is the lower white section of the stems that are used in cooking whereas the aromatic spear-like leaves are used for teas and infusions.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
you should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet!!
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