Lemongrass is one of those elusive ingredients that I’ve never cooked with myself but have always wanted to. And the best way to get started is to learn where it comes from, how healthy it is, and what kinds of delicious recipes I can add it to.
What is lemongrass? Lemongrass is a unique herb that’s been utilized for its district lemon taste and mild and sweet flavor for hundreds of years – and not just for cooking, but for medicinal purposes as well. The plant is native to south India but is also grown in South East Asia, especially Thailand, Vietnam Malaysia and Indonesia.
Health benefits: Aside from its many medicinal benefits such as treating colds and sore throats, rough or dry skin, acne and even insomnia, it’s also been found to lower cholesterol and help stabilize Type 2 diabetes. Lemongrass oil and tea also been used for relaxation purposes for those who may have trouble sleeping, very similar to the effects of chamomile. Lemongrass also contains many vitamins and minerals including folic acid, vitamin B5, B-6 and B-1, vitamin A and C, as well as zinc, calcium, iron and copper. Lemongrass tea has also commonly been used as a diuretic to help flush toxins and waste from the body.
Nutritional statistics: One cup raw contains approximately 66 calories, 0 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar and fiber, and 1 gram of protein.
Cooking Methods: When looking for lemongrass at the store or market, select stalks that do not appear brittle or dry. Store in the fridge for up to three weeks in a tightly sealed bag, or freeze for up to six months. You can either use lemongrass stalks fresh as a sweet, lemon seasoning in recipes, or use them dried and ground into a more shelf-stable herb. Powdered varieties are great for teas and curries, but shouldn’t be substituted in for fresh as the flavor is severely diminished.