Lemongrass – The Herb With The Heavenly Citrus Scent
Lemongrass is of the family Poaceae also known as the grass family, with a wonderful lemon fragrance, and a delicious lemon taste. The plant grows in dense clumps that are tufted and tight and which increase in size year by year and rarely produce flowers.
The herb is native to India and Sri Lanka and thrives in other tropical areas such as Latin America and Southeast Asia.
The herb was used by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans in cosmetics and medicines.
The herb is sold in bunches of three to four stems with the tuberous roots removed and the leaves removed. The bunches should be firm and white with a greenish tinge and not at all dried or wrinkled. The fresh stems can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks wrapped in plastic or in the freezer for up to six months.
The dried herb is either sliced or finely chopped and stored as dried herbs would be, in an airtight package in a cool place protected from direct light.
The herb is used extensively in Asian cooking as a substitute for lemons that do not grow well in the tropics, since the lemon flavor is very much after in this area. The herb is also used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.
For additional information about lemongrass click on the link to Wikipedia.org
For some great sections on herbs and spices some great references are:
• The Spice and Herb Bible – Second Edition by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill
• The Food Encyclopedia by Jacques L. Rolland and Carol Sherman with other contributors
• Field Guide to Herbs & Spices by Aliza Green
• The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices – Seasonings For The Global Kitchen by Tony Hill
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