Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Frugal Garden: Growing, Harvesting and Drying Lemon Grass

Lemon grass is incredibly easy to grow and a wonderful multi use plant to have in your garden.  It can be a dramatic focal point in a decorative garden and a necessary herb if you wish to prepare Asian food.

When you purchase your plant it will look small and unassuming.  Don't be fooled!  Lemon grass can grow to be 3 feet tall with a 3 foot spread.  Choose a spot in your garden with plenty of room, at least six hours of sun a day and good drainage.  Once you plant it just stand back; it will grow very quickly.

Lemon Grass With Spring Growth
After it reaches full size and has begun to develop swollen bulbs at the base of each stem it is time to divide it and harvest some of the stems.  Dig the plant up with a shovel and pull off the stems you want to harvest.  Replant the younger stems; they will grow to full size before you know it.

Cleaning lemon grass is like shucking corn.  There are many dried leaves to pull off until you get to the green and white center.  When you think you are done, keep peeling.  You only want to use the very tender, center section of the bulbed end of the stem.

Peeled And Soaking In Water
Much like leeks, lemon grass can have dirt hiding under the layers of the bulbed stem.  Be sure to soak them in water, then soak them a second time.  You will be surprised at how much grit is in the bottom of the sink.

Ready For Slicing
Thinly slice the white and light portions of the stems.  Discard the green leafy areas.  I will take thin stems and slice them lengthwise rather than in rings.  If the bulb is hard to cut, then it is too tough to eat.

Leave Plenty Of Space Around Slices

Lay the sliced lemon grass on your drying trays.  Remember to leave plenty of space for air circulation.  Dry them until crisp, following your dehydrators instructions.  Store in a tight container in a dry, cool place.

Into The Dehydrator
When cooking you can add the dried lemon grass directly into a soup or stew, but you should put them in a cheesecloth bag to allow easy retrieval before serving.  When a recipe calls for diced lemon grass, rehydrate in water, then dice.

Lemon grass can also be steeped for tea or used in it's dry form for potpourris.  The scent is lovely and as fresh as spring.

God bless,


  1. Thanks, I didn't know you could dry it.

  2. Can I use the green leaves? I finely cut them and used them in a stir fry?

    1. No, just use the tender inner portion of the bulb.

  3. Is October too late to harvest and dry the fine white bulb portion?

    1. As long as the bulb is fully developed you're good to go.

  4. I use the leaves for tea all the time! Try it!