discard the old hard leaves (one outer layer), use the white part at the end and some of the green part (discard to top leafy green part). Chop up small if saute-ing, marinating, or grilling (it will become crunchy and easier to eat). If making soup, leave whole and discard when done!
I like to keep a couple of stalks in my freezer and pull them out to shave onto dishes using my microplane or a fine rasp. The lemongrass "snow" adds a lot of flavor without having to digest the fibrous stalks.
Sam is a trusted home cook.
It's hard to find lemon grass here but my local supermarket has lemon grass paste in tubes. It's in the section with the bagged herbs. I like that much better for some dishes, especially coconut rice or soups as it incorporates very easily. Has a good shelf life in the fridge and actually taste good with a strong lemongrass flavor.
I think of that product like I do prepared horseradish in terms of ease of use vs fresh horseradish; especially when you just need a bit to flavor a rice or soup.
If you are using in a soup or sauce, the best thing to do is to beat it with the back of a chefs knife or a meat mallet. This will open up the flavor and allow it to release and incorporate into any liquid that you a using.
I remove the outer leaves and tops and pulverize the stalks into nearly a powder in the food processor - the consistency of citrus zest. I keep it in zip lock baggies in the freezer. It's great in curries and soups.
I have lemongrass growing in my garden. When using fresh stalks, cut them down to the white part and remove the outer layer (like preparing a leek) then pour simmering water over them and let them soak for about 10 minutes. This will soften the stalks so that you can can finely chop or grind them in a mortar.
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