Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lemongrass Harvest

This past week I harvested my lemongrass plant and I consider it to be a success.  Once again, my criteria for garden success is:  producing enough food for my family for one year with the minimum amount of work and cost.
  • First, there was no expense for purchasing this year's plant. Years ago I bought a shoot at Whole Foods grocery store and have kept reusing it. Even though it was being sold for food, I put it in water and after a few weeks, it rooted. The price was nominal but the store is about 30 miles away making it prohibitive to drive that far to get a new shoot each year. A few root clumps are saved every year to be replanted in the spring. This year was a smaller yield than previous years; however, I think it is due to the drought. 
  • Second, minimum labor during the summer. I did need to water it some this year, but normally it does not need much water, it is grass, after all. Bill mowed around it a few times, but since it grows taller than the weeds, it is fine. Each year I try planting it in different spots.This year I put it in the far corner of the vegetable garden so it would catch the hose pipe and keep it from dragging over other plants; it worked quite well that way.
  • Third, easy to harvest. Shove a pitchfork underneath, push up, rinse with water then separate the sections. Done.
  • Fourth, this one plant will provide more than enough for us until the next harvest. I will use it mainly for tea but will freeze some to season food.

This is certainly not what you see in the stores, all cleaned and packaged, but it is how it really looks after digging it out of the ground. Not a very pleasing picture, I know, and yes, I brought it into the kitchen to work on it. Normally I do this outside, but it was too cold.

I separated it into three sections:
  1. A healthy root clump is put into a glass of water then placed in the laundry room window for the winter. There it will languish forgotten, knocked over and repeatedly spilled until spring. It will survive in only water and be rewarded for its perseverance by being replanted in the garden in the spring.  
  2. The lower few inches of the stalk are wonderful to use to flavor chicken dishes. They are woody and hard to chew so it is best to remove them before serving. If you freeze them they will keep through the winter.
  3. Everything else on the leaf will be dehydrated and used for tea. 

After we finished digging we decided to sit enjoy a cup of fresh lemongrass tea while resting in the swing in the yard. My seat is on the left and Bill sits is on the right where the rock drops down lower, his legs are longer. He built the cup holders as an added convenience. This is our favorite spot in the yard.


  1. Never even thought of growing and harvesting lemongrass but I guess that is because I don't use it. Although it is another one of those things that if I grew it, then I would learn to use it. I got very accustomed to our huge rosemary bush at our old house but it got a lot of abuse and ended up dying. I have brought back one which later died and now have one that I hope to nurture through the winter!!! I guess lemongrass is pretty hardy so it might be up my alley since I seem to have a black thumb :)

  2. I have never had luck with Rosemary. It just looks at me and dies. I saw Martha Stewart mention how easy it was to grow and decided to try it. Well, if Martha says it is so, it must be so.