What is Lemongrass
Lemongrass, scientifically known as Cymbopogon citratus, is a perennial tropical grass native to Southeast Asia, Africa, and Australia. The plant features long, slender leaves that grow in dense clumps, reaching up to 3-6 feet in height. Lemongrass is a key ingredient in a lot of Southeast Asian cooking whether in marinades for meat, to brighten flavors in soup or flavor curries. It has a distinct lemony scent and flavor due to the presence of a compound called citral.
Lemongrass tea isn’t just a refreshing and flavorful drink; it’s also packed with health benefits. Some of the potential advantages of including lemongrass tea in your diet are:
- Improved digestion: Lemongrass has been known to alleviate indigestion, bloating, and constipation.
- Stress relief: The calming aroma of lemongrass can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
- Antioxidant-rich: Lemongrass contains antioxidants that help combat free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Lemongrass tea may help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain related to conditions such as arthritis.
- Immune system support: The vitamins and minerals in lemongrass can contribute to a stronger immune system.
Why you should use fresh lemongrass and where to buy it
Before you go out running for fancy packaged loose lemongrass tea leaves, I hope you consider making fresh lemongrass at home. The flavors and aroma will be so much stronger and your pocket will thank you.
You can purchase lemongrass from Whole Foods, your local Asian grocery stores, saywee for delivery. In my honest opinion, lemongrass is a critical component when making curries. However, since I do not frequent Asian grocery stores as often as I like, I really stock up every time I get lemongrass. They freeze pretty well, which is what I do with the extras, but I also make reduced lemongrass tea which I keep in the fridge.
How to serve Lemongrass Tea
Lemongrass tea can be a refreshing treat on a hot day when served cold with a lot of ice. More recently, I served them warm in a hot water dispenser at my backyard wedding and my baby shower when the weather was cool. The drink was a big hit with guests to help keep warm and hydrated.
I also keep a jar of reduced lemongrass tea with honey. Whenever I want a glass of lemongrass tea, I add hot or cold water depending on my mood. That way, I can quickly and and conveniently enjoy a daily drink without busting out a pot every time.
- 6 stalks of lemongrass
- 5 tbs of honey
- 6 cups of water
- Preparing Lemongrass: Rinse the stalks thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Then, remove the outer layers of the stalks and discard them. Cut out two ends of each tip of the lemongrass (they lack flavor and aroma) and cut the tender inner layers to 1-inch pieces.
- Add the lemongrass pieces to a pot with your water and bring to boil.
- Add 5tbs of honey, or as according to your taste
- Leave on medium boil for 40 minutes. The water would have reduced by then as well
- Store in glass jar with a few pieces of lemongrass in the jar to stretch out the flavors and the aroma
- Whenever you feel like it, pour a few tablespoons to a glass and add hot or cold water depending on how you like to enjoy it. It should keep for 2+ weeks, but I cannot guarantee it’ll last that long.
Variations to your lemongrass tea
While lemongrass tea is great on its own, feel free to experiment with more additions:
- Ginger: Adding fresh ginger slices to your tea while it simmers can provide a delightful zing and boost its health benefits.
- Herbs and spices: Try adding fresh mint, basil, or even a cinnamon stick to your tea for extra flavor.
- Combine with other teas: Mix lemongrass with green or black tea for a unique flavor combination.
- Citrus: Squeeze in some fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice to give your lemongrass tea a zesty kick.
Making lemongrass tea from scratch is easy and really maximizes its delightful aroma and flavor. Experiment with different flavors and additions to create a personalized blend that suits your palate. And with the numerous health benefits that lemongrass tea offers, it’s a treat that’s both feel good and just good for your health.