How to harvest lemongrass…
…Ahhh lemongrass, how you smell so fresh and lively.
If you have never experienced lemongrass, I highly suggest you run right out and find yourself some and take a big fat inhale.
You will immediately feel ten pounds lighter in energy. Lemongrass has this incredibly clean, bright uplifting smell that can change your mood from crappy to dancing on roof tops within seconds.
Besides the intoxicating smell of life this lemongrass plant gives off, the health benefits are what win me over in the world of herbal medicine. Some benefits include reducing anxiety, promoting sleep, mood uplifter. You can read more details about this incredible lemongrass plant over here.
Before we dive into the steps of harvesting lemongrass, let’s talk a little about growing it.
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon Citrates, is unbelievably easy to grow. It is a sub tropical plant, so it thrives in full sun and in warmer climates. If you can’t find yourself some already established plants, you can actually head on over to the grocery store (usually specialty stores) and purchase yourself some lemongrass (you can find it in the produce section), put it in some water and let it root on its own. Just let your lemongrass sit in a sunny spot in your kitchen. Once roots appear which, can take up to a few weeks if not sooner, you can transplant it and….
BOOM SON, lemongrass be growin’.
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Lemongrass is a huge fan of well drained soil. It grows to be tall grass like bushes, so be sure to give it some room to spread out. We planted our lemongrass at the top of our herb spiral and it just loves every ounce of life. If you are wondering what an herb spiral is, it is a magnificent way to maximize your space in your garden. The method behind it is to utilize space upward rather than outward. Plus is looks absolutely stunning once your herb spiral is all filled in with lush plants like lemongrass. Head on over here to read about how we built our herb spiral.
Once your lemongrass plant has established itself, usually in the second growing season, it is time to harvest.
Harvesting lemongrass couldn’t be easier. You want to make sure you allow the plant to grow at least 12 inches high before you harvest (again, usually within the second growing season). Try and harvest lemongrass before the leaves turn brown. But you know what, life gets busy and I am here to tell you, it is going to be alright yo, if you have a few brown leaves just throw them back into the compost.
The cycle continues, right!?!
Anyway, there are a couple ways to cut the leaves to harvest. One way, the way we did, is to cut right above the stalk part of the plant. You know right before it gets thick toward the bottom. This method allows you to wrap the leaves easily.
The second method is to cut the leaves all the way, leaving about 2 inches of plant left above the soil. This gives you a large portion of the stalk, which you can use for cooking, (stews, stir fry….) and with this method it would be best to hang dry.
Shall we go over both drying methods? Yea? I think so too.
Now let’s talk wrapping these little babies. Wrapping is convenient for making tea. We discovered this method from Big City Gardener. You simply just take a little wrap out, place it in a mug, pour hot water and BAM….
Delicious lemongrass tea.
- First you want to harvest your herbs in mid day when they have had time to dry up from the morning dew. Always give your lemongrass enough time to grow, so allowing it to at least reach 12 inches high is best.
- Cut your leaves above the stalk. Remove all brown leaves.
- Rinse and allow to air dry completely before wrapping them.
- Now take a small handful maybe about 10-15 leaves….Oh, and gloves might be a wise choice. Lemongrass is a bit sharp.
- Wrap the leaves around your hand and twist the leaves so they bind together.
6. Make a fist and hold the beginning of the wrap in your hand and simply twist the leaves and thread them through the loop you made with your hand. Twisting the leaves just allows the leaves to stay together and thread a bit easier.
7. Continue to twist and loop through until all your leaves tighten into a wrap.
***Don’t worry about the loose leaves that refuse to twist and wrap. Just consider them rebels and still appreciate what they are going to do for your soul!
8. Place these wraps on a screen and allow to air dry anywhere from 2-6 weeks. You can place a loose sheet over or maybe some cheese cloth to keep the dust from getting on them. Especially if you want to harvest lemongrass for consumption. No one wants dust in their tea!
9. Once dried place in an air tight jar or bag, label, date and enjoy!
Loose Leaf Lemongrass
The second method is probably simpler out of the two.
- Simply cut your lemongrass down to the stalk. Make little bunches and tie the stalk end with twine.
- Hang in a cool dark place for 2-6 weeks. Cover with a brown paper bag by poking a hole in the end of the bag and pulling your twine through. Or you can cover using cheese cloth.
- When done drying, you can throw the bunches in a food processor or high power blender and grind just enough util it gives you a loose leaf tea consistency.
- Store in an air tight glass jar, label, date and enjoy!
You can use by placing a spoonful or two in a tea steeper and enjoying.
That is it y’all. Incredibly easy to grow and harvest lemongrass.
How do you enjoy lemongrass?