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Lemongrass - Seeds
You'd be surprised how many dishes Lemongrass appears in. A staple in Asian cuisine, especially Thai. As delicious in a stir fry or curry, as a creme brulee. It adds a unique sweet lemony flavour to mains and deserts, and makes a delicious, refreshing herbal tea.
Lemongrass looks like little fat spring onions. It's easy to grow, fast to germinate, and easy to harvest (just pull or cut a stem at soil level, wash, chop and cook). A popular choice for growing in pots, indoors or out, and if grown hydroponically with grow lights, will reward you with a faster growth rate.
Lemongrass is also a natural insect repellent, so you can grow it indoors for culinary use, then transplant it outdoors as a gorgeous ornamental grass that also doubles as a mozzie repellent.
About this herb
Variety: Lemongrass (Cymbopogan citratus)
Popular for: Thai cuisine, stir fry and curry, with chicken, pork, lamb and seafood. Pairs well with coconut, ginger, chili, turmeric, peanuts, cashews and lime. Refreshing herbal tea.
Sow depth: 5mm
Germination in: 10 to 14 days
Mature in: 12 weeks
When to sow: Outdoors - North Island: Spring to early Summer, South Island: Spring. Indoors - All year round (grow light recommended in winter).
Lemongrass is a popular choice grown indoors all year round, our outdoors in Spring and Summer depending on where in NZ you are. It germinates easily from seed and can be grown from a stalk cutting also. Grown indoors you'll likely want to transplant it outdoors later as mature lemongrass turns in to a gorgeous big ornamental grass.
When growing indoors, harvest frequently. You can start harvesting lemongrass from as little as 30cms tall. Just cut off a stalk flush with the soil surface. You can use the entire stalk to cook with, dry some for use later, or put leftovers aside to make tea.
Lemongrass likes a position outdoors that's in full sun half the day, half shade. It loves a good dose of direct sun, so when growing indoors, if you don't have a sunny spot that gets a good 6+ hours sun a day, then a grow light is a good idea.
Used for curries, soups, salads and deserts, Lemongrass is also prized as a medicinal herb and the essential oil is popular in perfumes and cosmetics. It makes a delicious herbal tea, served hot or cold. Lemongrass is a more subtle substitute for any dish that uses ginger.
There are probably fancier ways to make lemongrass tea, but I just keep leftover lemongrass from cooking, cut in to 5cm lengths, and steep in boiling water for 5 minutes or so. Add a dash of honey for extra sweetness. Delicious! Such a convenient way to get that lemony zing all year round for when lemons aren't in season.
For those with skills better than mine, I've eaten (but not made it myself) a delicious lemongrass creme brulee. If you're a whiz with deserts, please try this Lemongrass creme brulee recipe and let me know how you get on. It does say its rated an easy 1 out of 3 for difficulty (I'm just not the best with deserts!).