Lemongrass is native to tropical Asian countries like India and Sri Lanka, and it is because of the prevalence of lemongrass in the region that many cuisines in Southeast Asia feature the use of lemongrass. It is common to find food flavored with lemongrass in Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian cuisine.
People call lemongrass using different names; some call it citronella grass, while others refer to it as fever grass. Others call it West Indian lemongrass, barbed wire grass, Melissa grass, oil grass, and Squinant. This aromatic, tropical, evergreen, perennial grass can grow up to 4 feet in height with a diameter of 3 feet.
Commercially-produced items such as soaps, moisturizers, cleansers, and deodorants used lemongrass.
Aside from its flavor, lemongrass also has an ornamental value.
Species: C. citratus
Binomial Name: Cymbopogon citratus
- Lemongrass leaves are green but come autumn, the color of the leaves turns to red.
- In some countries, lemongrass is grown throughout the house because it is considered as snake repellant.
- Drinking lemongrass tea gives the person psychic powers and divination.
- Burn lemongrass incense for purification, and when added to bathwater, it makes for a purification bath meant to attract and keep a lover.
Lemongrass Buying Guide
Markets sell commercially-produced and organically-produced fresh and dried lemongrass leaves.
To be sure that you are buying fresh lemongrass leaves, check the color of the leaves. Fresh lemongrass is green while some parts brownish. But if you see spots and yellowish color, the leaves are not in good quality, or these are not the freshest leaves from the lot).
You can also try to smell the leaves. You should be able to smell the lemony scent of the lemongrass. If the aroma is faint, there is a chance the lemongrass leaf is not fresh and does not promise optimal flavor if used.
Lemongrass Production & Farming in Texas
In Texas, lemongrass grows up to 3 feet high only – short compared to the typical height of lemongrass, which is 6 feet. Shorter plants are a result of the conditions around it. In southern parts of Texas, the lemongrass plants have proven winter hardy.
Because lemongrass generally does not do well in low, cold temperatures, plant lemongrass in a large container that can be brought inside the house during winter to give the plant the heat it needs to survive.
You can harvest the leaves as soon as they are two feet or longer.
Some of the common pests attacking lemongrass are grass bagworms and the yellow sugarcane aphid.
Bifenthrin – use against grass bagworms. Bifenthrin is a pyrethroid insecticide that is not a restricted chemical in the United States. Set household use of bifenthrin in low concentration.
Lemongrass possesses insect-repellent properties.
Lemongrass thrives in a place where there is rich, moist loam soil that is well-drained and with high organic content. Moisture and drainage help lemongrass survive in poor soil.
Commercially produced dried lemongrass is sold both in supermarkets and online stores. The product is packaged depending on the quantity. Small quantities come in jars or small bottles. Buy refill packs if you already have a bottle or jar of dried lemongrass at home. When buying in bulk or large quantities, expect to have lemongrass in a box.
Keep your hands and eyes protected when packing lemongrass for commercial sale because handling lemongrass can cause skin irritation or allergic reaction. Also, the serrated edge of the leaves can cut the skin.
As the name suggests, lemongrass, when used, creates a lemony flavor and aroma.
Folk medicine practices include drinking lemongrass teas to treat many illnesses.
Pregnant women should avoid eating food prepared or cooked with lemongrass because this plant has uterine stimulating properties. Women who are breastfeeding women, as well as persons with liver or kidney disorders, should also avoid lemongrass.
To store lemongrass leaf and lock-in its flavor and aroma, make sure it is clean, dry, and cut from the stem. Put it inside a zip pouch and store it in the refrigerator. It will retain its freshness for 2 to 3 weeks. For dried and ground lemongrass, make sure to keep in a sealed container and store in a cool, dark place. Putting the leaves in a jar or bottle will preserve the aroma and taste of the dried and ground lemongrass for several months.
Cook stir-fry dishes, curries, and soups using lemongrass. Use lemongrass when making marinades. In Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines and Indonesia, lemongrass is a must-have ingredient when preparing roasted pig or roasted chicken.
Before using it for cooking, make sure to put dried lemongrass inside a cheesecloth or tea bag and secure it. Do not ingest dried leaves of lemongrass.
Lemongrass has vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. Lemongrass also contains folate, manganese, iron, and calcium. It also has vitamins A and C, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, and potassium.
- Calcium: 65.00mg
- Iron: 8.17mg
- Potassium: 723mg
- Sodium: 6mg
There are numerous health benefits from ingesting food cooked with lemongrass. The reason it is called fever grass is that inhaling the vapors of warm water boiled with lemongrass helps lower down the body temperature of a person with fever, illustrating the effect of its antipyretic properties. Lemongrass also helps alleviate other health problems like laryngitis and sore throats.
The chemical compound citral found in lemongrass is known to inhibit the growth of hepatic cancer cells during the initial phase. It also prevents any further production of cancerous cells, and this is the reason why lemongrass is part of the diet of those managing cancer or those hoping to avoid developing cancer in the future.
Remedying numerous gastrointestinal disorders and stimulating the bowel function to treat constipation, improve digestion, and alleviate stomach aches illustrate the potency of lemongrass oil.
Lemongrass also has analgesic properties, and this is why those suffering from headaches or migraines looking for an organic remedy uses lemongrass. Lemongrass has phytonutrients. For those who are constantly overworked, lemongrass can help in relieving common ailments like spasms, muscle cramps, sprains, and backaches. If things went from bad to worse to include wounds, dislocations, internal injuries, and bruises, use lemongrass for remedy.
For infections like ringworm, sores, Athlete’s Foot, scabies, and urinary tract infections (UTI), you can use this antiseptic plant and rely on its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties that can help improve your condition.
Lemongrass detoxifies the body and helps boost immunity, promote cellular health, fight obesity and Type-2 Diabetes, improve sleep to counter insomnia, repel insects, remove body odor, treat edema, and prevent rheumatism.
When Are Lemon Grass in Season in Texas?
To find out when Lemon Grass are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.