Harvesting & Storing Lemongrass
The weather really is getting cooler! Eventually, anyway. With that in mind, we harvested our 4 lemongrass plants from the Demo Garden earlier this week. Lemongrass is grown as an annual in Kansas because it won’t tolerate temperatures below 40 degrees very well. Theoretically, you could divide the big clump at the end of the season and plant a couple stalks to keep it going over the winter. I think is just fine to replant fresh every spring. (Easier, too!)
So the plants were pulled out and the tops trimmed off. The grassy leaves can probably be used to make tea if you are excessively ambitious, but we weren’t.
The best part of the lemongrass to use is the part of the stalk within 2-4″ of the base of the plant. The upper parts of the stems can be used to infuse teas or things like that. The part that is usually used in cooking though, is the bottom part. To get the stalks off, you kind of have to twist & pull each stalk to get it pulled out. You don’t want to mangle it, so you kind of have to find the angle where it will break cleanly.
After pulling off the stalks, you want to peel the outer couple of layers off if you are going to store it for a longer period of time. If you are planning to use it within a couple weeks, just throw it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and peel it when you’re ready. However, if you are going to freeze it for use later on, you should peel it now.
The peeled ends will be more tender. They are also more fragrant and flavorful, great for making one of the tasty Lemongrass recipes I shared at Lunch in the Garden back in September!