During Kate and Tuan’s spur-of-the-moment visit last weekend I learned a cool new trick: You can sprout a lemongrass plant from the stalks you purchase at Asian groceries such as Cao Nguyen!
So here are the directions from Kate, by way of Tuans’ mother, Mrs. Nguyen.
- Buy the freshest bundle of stalks you can find
- Use the bottom 4″ of stalk
- Peel off some of the outer leaves
- Place the short stalks in a cup containing about 1″ of water
- Place in a window that gets indirect sunlight
- Check the grass daily – you may see roots start in just one day, although it might take a week
- Transplant to a pot filled with good quality potting soil
- Keep moist, but not soggy
eHow also has directions on how to grow lemongrass from cuttings.
Last year I bought a lemongrass plant at the farmer’s market, but I haven’t found any this year. I knew that it wouldn’t overwinter in the garden, so I planted it in a 1 gallon pot and it did fine nestled in with basil plants all around. It made a quite nice looking ornamental grass.
I brought it inside in the fall and kept it alive all winter, but then let it die from neglect sometime in March. This year I’ll plant it in a larger pot – probably a 3 gallon size – and be more attentive during the winter and early spring.
And this year I’ll be sure to process and freeze some of my lemongrass, as described at Chowhound. I think that frozen lemongrass is better than the stuff that comes in a tube, and it’s certainly easier to use than stalks from the market.
A quick note on Swiss Chard and Kale: I’ve decided that the best/easiest thing to do with abundant greens is wash, chop, and saute in olive oil with onion and garlic and then refrigerate (or freeze). That way you can quickly toss some in whatever you’re making – grilled sandwiches, omlettes, pasta, etc.