It is common knowledge that many culinary dishes include herbs as ingredients. Apart from elevating the taste of a culinary dish, herbs also make them more nutritious. It is even believed that culinary herbs have some medicinal benefits to it.
One of the most common culinary herbs is lemongrass, known for its citrus and ginger-like aroma. However, there is more to lemongrass than being an ingredient in the kitchen.
So, suppose you’re quite a culinary or plant enthusiast or someone interested in plants and their different uses. In that case, you might want to continue reading further to know more about the lemongrass herb.
What Does Lemongrass Taste Like
Lemongrass tastes just as it smells; It tastes precisely like a mild citrus with a hint of ginger. It may even be described as a similar tasting to ginger except without the spiciness attributed to the latter.
Contrary to its name, lemongrass neither tastes like lemon nor grass. However, the citrusy aspect of its taste may be considered an earthy version of a lemon’s flavor.
It’s a common component in various Asian dishes and baking due to its zestiness. However, it got its name for its citrusy, specifically lemony, aroma, mainly due to possessing some essential oils also present in lemon fruit. The smell of fresh lemongrass, in particular, has floral and minty notes apart from its well-known citrusy scent.
Different Ways to Use Lemongrass
Lemongrass is a common flavoring in various food and beverages. For example, it is a common tea flavoring in most herbal teas. Quite a common fragrance ingredient, lemongrass is also used in deodorants, soaps, and cosmetics.
Apart from this, lemongrass is also believed to have some medicinal properties, and it is either taken orally, applied topically, or inhaled via aromatherapy. However, limited scientific research can support such claims.
Despite its medicinal properties not having enough scientific backing, lemongrass is used in Ayurvedic medicine to alleviate colds and congestion. Some claim that lemongrass has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and antioxidant effects. Moreover, it is also said to help stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow in women and improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
How to Brew Your Lemongrass Tea
Regardless, if it does have actual medicinal properties, one of the best ways to enjoy lemongrass scent and taste is by brewing tea. Here is how you can brew lemongrass tea, whether you like it hot or cold.
Things you need
You only need three main ingredients when brewing your tea: lemongrass stalks, water, and sweetener. Depending on your flavor preference, you may add other ingredients, such as lemon, black tea, ginger, or turmeric.
Prepare the lemongrass
The preparation of lemongrass for brewing is the same as its preparation when incorporated with culinary dishes. First, remove the outer skin from the stalk and wash the stalk with water. Then fold the lemongrass stalk onto itself, using its leaves to tie a knot.
Brew your lemongrass tea
Add water and the prepared lemongrass stalk in a small pot on medium heat. Brew for about 10-15 minutes. If you wish to include some additional ingredients, it’s also best to add them to the pot while the stalk is brewing.
After brewing, strain the liquid and stir in your sweetener. It depends on you whether you prefer using sugar or honey. You may then serve your lemongrass tea, or if you like it chilled, pour it into a glass full of ice before serving.
How to Use Lemongrass in Soups and Salads
Lemongrass may be considered a staple aromatic ingredient in Asian cuisine. Fresh stalks of the lemongrass herb are the most potent and versatile, allowing it to contribute to the complex flavors of various dishes. Given that this herb is a jack of all trades, there are also different ways to prepare it before cooking a wide range of dishes.
Depending on the dish, lemongrass can be minced, chopped, pounded, or tossed straight into the pot after washing. The citrusy flavor of lemongrass can be incorporated in marinades, pastes, or sauces by either mincing it into fine pieces, pounding it with a mortar and pestle, or grating it with a box grate or tossed in the food processor. The exact manner of preparation is also done when creating lemongrass dressing for salads.
Fresh lemongrass stalks are best for soups and slow-roasted meats, usually chicken, beef, or pork, so their lemony ginger flavor seeps into the soup and the meat. However, when using lemongrass in this manner, you must remember to remove the stalks before serving.
Is Lemongrass Oil Safe for Dogs?
It is part of a responsible fur parent’s role to be aware of which food and substances are safe for consumption by their fur babies. For example, Lemongrass oil, although seemingly harmless, is not safe for dogs.
The lemongrass herb doesn’t harm dogs even if accidentally ingested. However, the more concentrated lemongrass oil can be fatal as it has high amounts of cyanogenic glycosides and essential oils.
Cyanogenic glycosides aren’t necessarily toxic to dogs as they are natural toxins produced by plants as defense mechanisms against herbivores. What makes the cyanogenic glycoside-containing lemongrass grass oil harmful to dogs is due to the metabolic byproduct once dogs ingest the substance. Cyanogenic glycosides are hydrolyzed first, which then produces toxic cyanide.
Cyanide interferes with cellular respiration, which consequently inhibits the release of oxygen, which then leads to hypoxia. Such a condition is fatal as it can lead to cerebral hypoxia, inevitably resulting in death. So, before giving your furbabies anything, regardless of how harmless the food may seem, always make sure to do your research!
Lemongrass is arguably one of the most versatile herbs, with various uses in Asian cuisine, Ayurvedic medicine, and aromatherapy. Its earthy citrus scent and taste are undoubtedly its unique characteristic, making it an undoubted favorite flavor enhancer and fragrance.
The lemongrass herb is generally harmless, with its pleasant lemony ginger scent and all. However, you should consider exercising caution if you are a fur parent, as dog ingestion of lemongrass oil might prove fatal. As with anything else, a little bit of searching on the internet can help settle uncertainties.
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