Farming & gardening Herbs Spices Veggie matters

Freezing Lemongrass for the Winter

photo 5We’re leaving. Got a 6 a.m. plane to catch. But unlike so many times before, this time we are taking a vacation—true vacation, no work, 7 days, Hawaii. Bliss. It’s been a painfully long time since we have booked time away with no obligations (that’s the trouble with a career that centers on travel… every trip presents yet another opportunity to work, at least a little bit). So. Hawaii it is. More on that to come….

What I’m sharing now is a smidgen of the prep work behind this departure (because leaving always entails a race to get ready, no?). I looked at the garden and realized I had to do something with all that lemongrass, or I risked returning to a sad, fallen clump of frostbitten leaves. We’ve been lucky so far: few nights of freezing temps, and plants still intact. But it won’t last.

So I cut them all down.

photo 4We had such a lovely crop this summer. Trust me, once you have your own homegrown lemongrass on hand, you will never willingly return to the American store-bought variety. Homegrown lemongrass is divinely fragrant, so lemony fresh with hints of summer rain. This is a plant that loves water. It rewards you with the scent of every thunderstorm that helped it grow.

But this is a plant that hates cold. It won’t survive a winter in frozen ground. Take it indoors, grow it in a pot, and you’ll be happy. Leave it in a cold winter garden, and it’s gone.

photo 3But the succulent stalks can be cut, cleaned, trimmed and stored in the freezer. And the leaves—rough and dry, yet still aromatic—can be hung to dry, then turned into tea.

photo 2

If you garden, if you love tropical foods, if you haven’t already: please try growing lemongrass. It’s such an impressive plant. I’m amazed every time I pluck a stalk—what a wondrous smell. How can a single plant smell so good? We are lucky, on this earth, to have such beautiful foods.

photo 1

And we are lucky, in this country, to have such an easy means of preservation: the freezer. How often do we ponder this appliance that offers us the a sudden burst of summer in a mid-winter meal?


One reply on “Freezing Lemongrass for the Winter”

I never thought about growing lemon grass. You have gotten my interest up. I will do it next year.
Have a great vacation. You both deserve it and Hawaii is a wonderful spot.

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