A perennial grass of tropical Asia, lemongrass with its fibrous leaves contains citral, the flavor component of lemon rind. When crushed, bruised, or cut, the long stalks release a fresh lemon flavor with peppery notes.
Fresh lemongrass will store for 2-3 weeks in your refrigerator. If wrapped well, lemongrass can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
Lemongrass is a common ingredient in Thai, Malay, Vietnamese and Indonesian food, which means it goes well with basil, chilies, cilantro, coconut milk, ginger, garlic, rice noodles, beef, seafood, and pork. To use whole in order to flavor a stew or curry, remove the two outer layers and bruise the stalk; remove large pieces before serving. If the lemongrass is intended to be eaten as part of the dish, slice into very fine rings starting at the bottom and moving up until the stalk is too tough to cut. Smaller pieces can also be put into a food processor or spice grinder to pulverize the stalk. Searching ‘lemongrass’ on Saveur magazine’s website, will give you several recipe ideas, a video on how to tie a lemongrass knot, or how to make a syrup for sweeter purposes.