Lemongrass: Tips and Tricks

If you’ve dabbled in Asian cuisine, attempted to whip up some craft cocktails, or even had a passing interest in Asian “fusion,” chances are you’ve come across lemongrass. For the uninitiated, the complex flavor profile and unique applications of lemongrass can be an ever-growing mystery. Expand your knowledge on the singular veggie with these clues on storage, selection, and more.

  • There are two types of lemongrass you’re likely to find: dried or fresh. Naturally, the latter is preferable because it has a brighter and deeper flavor profile. That being said, dried lemongrass has a much longer shelf-life, so it can be good to have some on hand if you ever run out or simply need a touch of lemongrass flavor.
    • Pro Tip: Dried lemongrass is best suited to slow, wet cooking methods because this allows it enough time to rehydrate.   
  • Just like your lawn, you don’t want your lemongrass to be yellow or dried out. When selecting, look for long, bright green stems with fat, compact bulbs. Additionally, it should feel heavy for its size and be free of any discoloration. 
  • Lemongrass has a decent shelf-life and can last two weeks in your refrigerator if tightly wrapped. It’ll hold up in the freezer too, but be aware that the cold will diminish lemongrass’s flavor and aroma. 
  • Although the entirety of the plant is edible, you’ll want to stick to the middle section when cooking because the top and bottom bits tend to be more fibrous and less flavorful. However, instead of tossing them straight into the compost bin, try steeping the leftovers in a bottle of vodka and using them to garnish cocktails!
  • When it comes to flavor pairings, lemongrass is best used to add a subtle, rich, citrus flavor into a greater dish. However, if you want to take it to the next level, try adding ingredients that interplay with lemongrass’ underlying ginger and mint notes!