Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a tall, perennial grass in a class of grasses native to the tropical and sub-tropical climates of Asia, Australia and Africa. India is the highest producer of lemongrass (producing over 2 million pounds per year), where it is cultivated along the mountain range of the Western Ghats and beside the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim in the Himalayan mountains.
Lemongrass has red base stems and can grow up to 10 feet in its favored habitat. The greatest time of growth for lemongrass is during the summer in moist, rich soil. If youre thinking of planting lemongrass, just remember its roots tend to take over in a garden, so physical barriers should be put up whenever planting the grass near other plants.
Each stalk of lemongrass has several layers, each growing tightly wrapped around its core. The top layers are tough and green like a cornhusk's outer layer. When peeled away, you will find the familiar inner white core of the lemongrass stalk, which best for cooking.
Popular in Vietnamese and Thailand cooking, lemongrass also works well in Western cooking — its complex flavors can liven up a variety of dishes and are are also enhanced by many different spices and seasoning. Lemongrass’s slightly sweet, pungent and lemony taste makes it great for spicy stews and curries, but it also works well in desserts and sodas and cocktails.
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