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For the Love of Lemongrass

You might have lemongrass growing in your herb garden. It is that unmistakable tall and grassy clump that grows anywhere from 3 to 5 feet tall. Lemongrass is a tropical herb packed with strong citrus flavor, prized in Asian cooking for its uses in soups and sauces. Lemongrass is also a medicinal herb known for many health benefits including relieving anxiety, boosting metabolism, and relieving pain and bloating. But did you know that lemongrass makes a fragrant, wonderfully delicious herbal tea that is simple to prepare?

Growing Lemongrass

Since I drink lemongrass tea in my home every day, I always have a plant and sometimes two in my garden. Lemongrass is easy to grow both in the ground and in a pot. It prefers a sunny location with loose, fertile, well-drained soil that is moist but not too wet. I buy a plant at my local nursery and plant it in a pot where I know it will get at least 6 hours of sun. Lemongrass is practically pest-free because of its high essential-oil concentration, and once established, it also tends to outcompete weeds. This herb is so easy to grow that there is no reason why it cannot become one of your garden staples!

Drying Lemongrass Leaves

I usually use fresh lemongrass leaves for my herbal teas, but drying the leaves for convenience and future use is quite easy and practical. To dry the leaves, cut them into pieces while the plant is still fresh - dry and brittle leaves are hard to work with. Separate the leaves from the stalks and remove any unsightly leaves that have turned brown. After giving them a good rinse and drying them, lay the leaves on paper towels in an area out of direct sun. I like to lay sheets of paper towels on baking racks, spread my lemongrass leaves, and let them dry at room temperature. When completely dry, cut leaves with scissors to your desired size, I cut them to approximately ½ inch pieces and store them in a labeled jar in a cool, dark place. Dried lemongrass can be used for up to a year.

Preparing Lemongrass Tea

Preparing lemongrass tea at home is very easy with a few simple steps. Heat water to just below boiling, about 208°F. Steep a few pieces of lemongrass, fresh or dried leaves, for 3-5 minutes. I like to drink my herbal tea plain, but you can add honey or sugar to taste. Lemongrass tea is delicious hot or iced.

I drink lemongrass tea for its flavor, aroma, and soothing effects. In my home it is known as the “happy tea.” I hope that you make room in your day for a quiet moment with a cup of lemongrass tea.

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