The narrow foliage of lemongrass ranges from blue-green to gold, and the flowers are white, cream, or green depending on the plant’s age. Generally there will be more colors of purple and blue in the base of the plant closest to its root source. Younger lemongrass will display a sweet tropical citrus aroma reminiscent of natural fruit loops. The stalk and bulb will be tender to the touch and knife. The older the plant, the more fibrous and less flavorful.
Oil is extracted from lemongrass for its high vitamin A content. It is also used as an addition to teas and herbal soups. Its medicinal properties make it extensively useful in Ayurvedic medicine.
The distinctive herbal citrus flavor and aroma of lemongrass lends itself well to many Asian dishes such as curries, noodle soups and chili sauces. Infuse cooking liquids to steam shellfish such as mussels and clams, or add to coconut milk for braising beef or pork. Bruise the tender stalks and infuse spirits to create cocktails flavored with cucumber, Kaffir lime or Thai basil.
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