October 15, 2011
One of my staple ingredients - especially for South East Asian cuisine - is lemongrass. I realized just how important it is when I tried to make Thai red curry and pho last month but without lemongrass. It just didn't work. So I have been looking around the island to see if I might find it growing wild somewhere, but for weeks, I came up empty.
Then, when I went to the grocery store early this week, it was filled with a new shipment of fresh produce. Unwilted lettuce, cucumbers, fresh red chile. It was terrific. And even better when I found fresh herbs. They had Sage, sorrel, parsley and much to my surprise: lemongrass. It was one of the happiest moments of my week. I wanted to buy them all but I felt bad not to share them with others, so I picked only three packages. I was planning to keep a few stalks in the fridge to use immediately, and freeze the rest. But then when I was looking at the stalks, I started to wonder what might happen if I put them in some soil. Will they grow? I don't know.
I went to my computer for some research and found several sites explaining how to grow lemongrass out of a stalk purchased from the supermarket. If this method works, it will be a real boost to so many of my recipes out here in Marshall Islands.
I followed the basic instructions (see below). I cleaned and cut off the stalks and put them in a glass with enough water to cover the bulbs. And then I waited. It is supposed to take a few weeks to make roots before you plant them in soil. But today is only day 6 and I have already seen some baby roots. I can't wait to see how this turns out after a few more weeks.
This is the lemongrass that I bought from the supermarket
The instructions say to look for "stalks with a bulbous base, preferably with traces of roots". I think they all looked fine except the one on the far left.
Day 1 : The lemongrass in a glass of water
Day 7 : Baby roots showed up at day 4 and at day 7 they are growing.
I will leave them in the water until next weekend and then tranplant to a container.