Lemongrass, rooting from cuttings. One of my favorite Asian ingredients from cuttings, to garden, to stock pot!

A dozen stalks of fresh lemongrass bound lightly for rooting.
Updated with a progress report on 5/10/13.

Every year I have driven east to Kroeger's greenhouse to buy Lemongrass.  I have never found it anywhere else down here but they always have it for me to enjoy each spring.  It is a very special part of my herb garden.  It is also known as takri in Thai cooking and citronella in some Chinese and Asian cookbooks.  When ground to a fine powder it is known as serai  and a teaspoon of it is equivalent to one blade of fresh lemongrass.

Today I had a lot of errands to do in town and stopped at a local Vietnamese market for lemongrass with the intent of rooting and growing it myself.  I purchased 12 stalks for $1.25 and felt like it was a great purchase as I am sure I probably paid at least $12.-15. for the pots I ave bought annually. 

I have cut off the bottom 5" of each stalk and loosely bound them together and set them into a vase of fresh water.  Now we wait.  As soon as they root I have a pot ready for them to be planted in.  I feel like this is a strong start!

Yesterday I took the cutting out from the water I started them in and changed it as there were some spots of mold floating about and some black spots on the shoots.  The roots have started on all of the shoots except one.  I changed to a different container and stood a glass plant frog in the bottom to raise the shoots a bit and returned them to continue rooting.

My very favorite way to use this ingredient is when making chicken stock.  You just cannot imagine how delicious the addition of a piece or two of crushed lemongrass makes the stock.  Add a bit of soy sauce and fresh ginger you are on your way to a delicious Asian style stock.  Here is the link to my version of herbed Asian stock.

Traditionally the way to use lemongrass is to use the bottom 5" of the stalk and pound it with something heavy enough to bruise and crush it. Although some recipes call for the whole stalk to be crushed then added.   This is very tough and fibrous and is always removed before serving.

5/24/13, UPDATE, these rooted cuttings were planted on the patio a week ago and are doing great!
Mosquitoes are repelled by lemongrass so it is quite handy to grow in large pots on the patio.  The lemon fragrance as the leaves rustle in the breeze is also lovely.  I have seen folks pull off the leaves and crumble them a bit to crush and rub them adainst their arms to repel insects.  All in all it is a mighty herb to have around!


cambric cotton, pins and needles said...

What a great tip, thankyou I never realised that this could be done. Like you I find it difficult to purchase fresh lemongrass, I will try this next time, I do have a question what conditions do they like to grow in?

Diane Cosby said...

I have always just grown it outdoors on our patio in a big pot which has filtered sunlight 70% direct sun maybe 30%. I only water when it gets good and hot and here that is 90+ degrees. Otherwise I leave it to the rain. Glad you likes the post! Thanks for letting me know. d