One of the writing projects I completed earlier this year involved, in part, creating a short guide to growing lemongrass indoors in cold climates. I love the taste of lemongrass – is it one of your favourites, as well? Do you use it in cooking? It’s a staple in many types of cuisine and widely available in markets and grocery stores, at least in larger centres. I always find, though, that I buy a bunch of stalks and have way too many to use at once. It stores a long time in the refrigerator, fortunately – at least one month or more. Another option to store it is to dehydrate it and grind it into a powder for use in cooking at a later date. It will store approximately six months in a sealed container in your pantry.
To dehydrate lemongrass:
Wash the stalks thoroughly and trim the ends. Pat dry the stalks with a clean cotton towel.
Haul out the cutting board and finely chop the lemongrass stalks. You don’t want these slices to be too thick or you’ll be running the dehydrator for several hours longer than you need to.
Set up the trays in your dehydrator according to the manufacturer’s manual. You’ll need to use the fruit leather inserts to prevent the chopped stalks from falling through the grid in the trays.
Set the temperature to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and program four hours of drying time into the machine.
Check the trays and rotate them at the two hour mark.
If you can still sense some moisture in the chunks of lemongrass or they are still pliable after 4 hours, you’ll need to add some more time. Keep checking until the stalks are nice and dry.
Remove the pieces of lemongrass from the dehydrator and throw them in a food processor. Grind them until they are powdery (you can determine how coarse you want your lemongrass powder to be). And that’s it! Not a huge lot of fuss and muss and you’ll have a delicious fragrant ingredient to add to soups, curries, rice, and other dishes whenever you want.
You can also dehydrate lemongrass leaves, as well! I would recommend drying them separately from the stalks, as the leaves will take less time (estimate about two hours for the leaves, at 100 degrees Fahrenheit).
*If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry lemongrass in the oven. Spread the pieces of lemongrass stalks in a single layer on a baking sheet and set the oven at a low temperature (approximately 150 degrees Fahrenheit). Keep checking every few hours until the stalks are dry. You’ll need to turn them each time you check on them.
Some of you may live in climates where you can grow lemongrass outdoors. Or maybe you are in a colder climate and maintain plants indoors. If you have any photos of your lemongrass plants, please share them in the comments – I’d love to see them! Share your favourite ways to use lemongrass in recipes, as well! If you don’t like lemongrass or haven’t tried it, tell me your what your favourite lemon-flavoured herb is!