What is Lemongrass?
You may have seen a lot of plants with long sprouting leaves and a lemony scent when pulled out. That’s lemongrass! Its scientific name is Cymbopogon citratus, a native of India used in a lot of Asian dishes, namely in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
The plant itself is perennial, so once planted, you won’t need to worry about the leaves from sprouting (except during the winter, depending on your country’s climate). Also used for Asian and Caribbean cooking, this plant has also become very popular in the United States. This plant comes with a lot of useful features you can add to your dish or drink.
While you can’t eat lemongrass alone, you’ll find that it has a lemony, citrusy aroma and equally zesty and ginger-like flavor, which is why it’s called that way.
It’s very easy to prepare since all you need to do is to cut off its root and use its leaves or heart to add on dishes or create a drink out of it.
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Benefits of Using Lemongrass
How come lemongrass is now becoming very popular around different areas in the world? It isn’t only because of its flavor, but because of the many health benefits, you can reap from it!
Here are the benefits lemongrass will be able to provide for you:
- Cholesterol: Lemongrass has properties that can keep your cholesterol levels at bay. It offers the right kind of cholesterol into your body, which results in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
- Detox: Lemongrass is well-known for its antioxidants, which can help flush out toxic wastes out of our body. As a result, it helps with the improvement of your organ functions, most especially in the digestive system. It keeps your system clean and healthy!
- Respiratory Disease: Since lemongrass has antioxidants, it also has healing effects for many types of sicknesses, mostly related to coughs and colds. It can also help with nasal blockage and other respiratory disorders. The plant doesn’t only help with your immune system, but the nervous system as well, which helps you become protected from various diseases and allows you to think clearly.
- Infections and Inflammation: Lemongrass is known to help cure pain, specifically in the head. It also helps improve blood circulation around your body, which quickens the healing processes of wounds and infections.
And these are just some of the benefits lemongrass has to offer!
Uses of Lemongrass
Now that you know what lemongrass is, what can you use it for? Here are the following ways you can use lemongrass and its substitutes:
- Tea: Lemongrass tea is widely popular in African and Latin American cultures. It’s an infusion of lemongrass with other leaves and sweeteners. It creates a citrusy taste that many enjoy. You can use this tea to help detoxify your body and rid it of the waste from bad food choices.
- Food: Like mentioned, you can use the lower stalk or the heart of lemongrass to add more flavor to your dishes. You can garnish the lemongrass on salads and seafood dishes, while you can also use lemongrass powder or juices on soup. Another way to release more flavor while cooking with lemongrass would be to bend the lemongrass to get more juice and flavor out of it.
- Essential Oils: Lemongrass has the aromatic scent and relaxing properties. You can use its scent to soothe your stressed self or even to have your home smelling great. Lemongrass comes in essential oils you can blend to make your room smell better or to add to your baths for a better experience.
- Home Use: Besides consuming or smelling lemongrass, you can use it at home as a way to clean your rooms and ward off pesky bugs. Its oil can also be used as a household disinfectant.
Uses Of Substitute For Lemongrass
While lemongrass does have its benefits and can grow just about anywhere in the world, it can have strong scents that are harmful to those allergic to it. So you may have to find an ideal lemongrass substitute for tea or dishes.
But what are good replacements for lemongrass? Here are great suggestions: Anything Lemon: What’s closest to the lemongrass taste than lemon itself? You can use any of these types of lemon substitutes:
1. Lemon Leaves
Lemon leaves give more flavor and can be used for drinks and tea. Just chop a few leaves and add it to whatever dish you’re cooking up for the zesty flavor.
2. Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena is a shrub with citrusy flavors. Just take note that it isn’t as zesty as lemongrass itself. Use more of its leaves to get a distinct flavor.
3. Lemon Balm
Just like lemongrass, this is a perennial herb with a light lemon scent. It’s one of the closest lemongrass substitutes you can use.
4. Lemon Thyme
You may know thyme as a seasoning to dishes, but lemon thyme offers both a zest and spice to your dish. It isn’t the most citrusy flavor, but it gives your dish a nice twist without the flavors overpowering each other.
5. Lemon Juice
Use two tablespoons of FRESH lemon juice, a tablespoon of lime or lemon zest, and a Kaffir Lime leaf (already torn to pieces). It’s best suitable for curry dishes.
6. Lemongrass Paste
This paste is from Cambodia, commonly known as Kreung. It contains shallots and galangal, while you can find regular lemongrass paste in squeeze bottles as well. Kreung and dried lemongrass a great replacement for its FRESH counterpart.
7. Ginger and Coriander
Since lemongrass has a ginger taste, you can use two teaspoons of fresh ginger and two teaspoons of coriander STALKS to get a similar flavor. This recipe is best used for soups or broths.
While these substitutes may not have the exact taste, scent, or nutritional value, they are still healthy and give a citrusy scent and flavor for you to appreciate.
If you’re looking for a good lemongrass substitute for your future dishes, then you’ll be surprised to find a ton of choices you can easily find in grocery stores or your local farmer’s market. They have the similar taste and still have a lot of nutritional benefits you can take advantage of.
I hope that this article on the best lemongrass substitute choices helped you become more knowledgeable on what you can replace the plant with during times you can’t use it! So what are you waiting for? Try these lemongrass replacements today and find out if they’re the perfect match for your dishes.
If you have any questions or would like to share your suggestions on the ideal lemongrass substitute, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think.