It’s that time again gang, and with the onset of spring, I thought about featuring an herb that, for whatever reason, I equate with the season: lemongrass. With its subtle, citrusy flavor and bright green color, I can’t help but start thinking of warmer temperatures and more sunshine.
Cymbopogon citratus, or common lemongrass, is also referred to as citronella grass, fever grass and (in the Philippines) tanglad. It is – obviously – in the grass family, and like its many uses, it also has many varieties, and each variety has its own place of origin. The common variety is found in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian maritime countries. The plants can grow to around six feet tall and will last up to three to four years if cared for properly. Once mature, the grass can be harvested every three to five months, and is propagated by separating the bulbs at the base. Lemongrass is an excellent companion plant for such items as tomatoes and broccoli, acting as a natural pesticide for both plants. It should be noted however that physical barriers of some sort are helpful, as the roots of the plant can spread out and take over the field. However, it does store well, keeping about two to three weeks in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer.