To dehydrate lemongrass, rinse and trim away the roots and outer layers. Cut it into 1-inch pieces and lay them on food dehydrator trays in a single layer. Dehydrate at a temperature of 95°F to 115°F for 2-4 hours until fully dried. To air-dry lemongrass, hang the stems from a string in a well-ventilated area for 1-2 weeks.
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What is the Best Way to Dry Lemongrass?
You can dehydrate lemongrass in several ways, including air drying, oven drying, and using a food dehydrator. The best way to dehydrate lemongrass is to air-dry it, but this method takes 1-2 weeks. A food dehydrator is the next best method for dehydrating and takes 2-4 hours. Oven drying isn’t recommended because there is a high risk of burning lemongrass due to the higher operating temperature of most ovens.
How to Dry Lemongrass in a Food Dehydrator
Dehydrating lemongrass in a food dehydrator helps retain its vibrant color and aromatic properties without burning it.
- Harvest or choose fresh lemongrass stalks for dehydration. Brush off any visible dirt and remove any damaged parts. Rinse the stalks under cool running water and dab dry with a paper towel.
- Remove the root ends of the lemongrass stalks using a kitchen knife or shears and trim away the woody, dry parts and the tough outer layers, leaving the tender inner portions.
- You may dry the whole stalks or cut them into small 1-inch pieces for faster drying.
- Arrange the lemongrass stalks or pieces on the dehydrator trays, spacing them out evenly for proper airflow, ensuring they don’t touch.
- Follow your food dehydrator’s instruction manual to determine the appropriate setting for herbs or set the temperature between 95°F to 115°F, which will dry them while preserving their essential oils.
- Place the trays in the dehydrator and set the for 2-4 hours.
- Keep checking the lemongrass to determine when it is fully dried. It should be dry to the touch, brittle, and snap easily when bent.
- Once completely dried, remove it from the dehydrator and let it cool to room temperature.
- Store the dried lemongrass in tightly sealed, airtight containers in a cool, dark place away from moisture and sunlight for up to three years.
How to Air Dry Lemongrass
Air drying is a simple and effective method of drying lemongrass:
- Select fresh and healthy lemongrass stalks and wash them thoroughly, removing dirt and any dry outer layers.
- Chop off the root ends of the lemongrass stalks.
- Gather a few stalks of lemongrass and tie them together in bunches with a string or a rubber band. It should be secure but not too tight to allow for airflow.
- In a well-ventilated room, hang the lemongrass bundles upside down, spacing them out on a hook or a clothesline.
- Use a paper bag pierced with holes to cover the lemongrass.
- Allow the lemongrass to air dry naturally for 1 to 2 weeks. The drying time may vary depending on the temperature, humidity, and air circulation in your drying location.
- Once completely dry, the lemongrass should feel dry and brittle to the touch. Test by bending a piece of lemongrass; if it snaps easily, it is dehydrated. Give it more time to dry if it bends without breaking.
- Remove the bundles from the hanging position and store your dried herbs in airtight containers in a cool, dark, and dry place.
How Do You Harvest Lemongrass to Dry?
Growing lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is less expensive than frequently purchasing fresh lemongrass stalks at a grocery store. It is also easy to grow and harvest from a home garden.
Lemongrass grows in bunches or clumps. It is ready for harvest once the lemongrass plant is roughly 12 inches tall. The stalks should be at least ½-inch thick, firm, and have a strong lemony scent. Locate the base and cut the base as close to ground level as possible.
Should Lemongrass be Washed Before Drying?
Yes, lemongrass should be washed in cool, running water before drying. Washing helps remove any dirt or pesticides that might be clinging to the stalks.
What Tools Are Used to Dry Lemongrass?
To dry lemongrass, you’ll need the following tools:
- A food dehydrator
- Airtight containers
- Cutting board for trimming the stalks
- Garden shears or a sharp knife for harvesting
- String or rubber bands for tying the stalks together in bundles for air drying
How Long Does It Take to Dry Lemongrass?
In a food dehydrator, it usually takes around 2 to 4 hours for lemongrass to dry thoroughly, depending on the moisture content, the thickness of the lemongrass, and the specific dehydrator model. It takes an hour to dry lemongrass in an oven set at the lowest temperature of approximately 150 degrees F. Air-drying lemongrass takes the longest time, about 1 to 2 weeks, to completely dry.
How to Use Lemongrass
Growing lemongrass can be as enjoyable as using it. It’s popular in Thai and Southeast Asian dishes and can be used in fresh, dehydrated, or powdered forms.
Here are a few ideas for using lemongrass in your cooking:
- Add lemongrass leaves or stalks to curries, soups, stews, stir-fries, or rice.
- As in Southeast Asian cuisines, use lemongrass to impart a lemony flavor to fish.
- Make lemongrass tea by boiling dried lemongrass in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Mince tender lemongrass stalks and scallions and use them as a salad topping.
- Use lemongrass as a ginger substitute to add flavor to any dish.
- Use lemongrass in cream sauce as a substitute for lemon juice.
How to Store Dried Lemongrass
Place dried lemongrass leaves in glass jars or other airtight containers. Store the jars or containers in a cool, dark, and dry place, such as a kitchen pantry or cupboard, to preserve their flavor.
What is the Shelf Life of Dried Lemongrass?
Properly stored, dehydrated lemongrass has a shelf life of 2 to 3 years. However, for best results, consume it within the first year.