Foodstuff: Lemon Grass in a Tube

It never seems to rain but it pours…

When I wrote my post featuring Lemongrass not long ago, it was only just a short time after I came across the fresh article in our local store and, at the time, I bemoaned the fact that, thus far, I had only been able to use dried varieties, which are all but useless. Then, not a week later after that, tubes containing a paste of the stuff appeared on the shelves and, much as I prefer cooking with basic, natural foodstuffs, I just had to see what the product was like…

The ingredients list did give me a little pause. There is nothing particularly alarming in there, I suppose, but the dextrose certainly comes quite high in order of quantity.

Appearance and Taste

The product as squeezed directly from the tube doesn’t look markedly different from a paste made from the fresh article ground with a little salt, but I have to say that the similarities pretty much end with the appearance. When you peel away the dried outer layers of fresh lemongrass, the citronella aroma is very apparent but, with this, there was almost no fragrance at all and the taste was a little bit disappointing.

When I sampled a little bit of the paste, I was able to detect bits of fibrous lemongrass, much the same as in home-ground paste, but there was also an unusual granular quality to the texture that was rather like sugar crystals. Indeed, the first component of the taste one notices is a very artificial sweetness that I can only assume is the dextrose. The paste is clearly lemongrass but the actual taste of  the spice is very muted and only a pale shadow of the fresh stalks. The label suggests that a tablespoon of the tube product is equivalent to a tablespoon of the actual thing but, I have to say, in the final analysis, that this is a little ambitious…

Ultimately, I can’t say that I am overly impressed by this preparation but there is no denying that the convenience is attractive, especially for those of us who can’t easily obtain the stalks in their natural state. I’d rather use the real thing, of course, but I am also looking forward to giving this product a try in a few culinary experiments…

16 thoughts on “Foodstuff: Lemon Grass in a Tube”

  1. You are so kind as to not also include in the category of those who might buy this product, the “lazy” and inclined to take short cuts! I will be looking for this product with all diligence! 🙂

    1. I used a chili paste from a tube a year or to ago (which I think may have been from the same company as this lemongrass paste). It was pretty darn good…

      I am *all* in favor of convenience, actually … if it is tasty, ofcourse 🙂

  2. I am glad to see that I am not the only person who has had the same experience; search high and low for lemongrass, find some at an Asian grocer only to have my local grocery store get some the next week. 🙂 I bought a tube of the lemon grass when I couldn’t find any and wasn’t impressed with the flavor at all.

  3. I also tried this and wasn’t impressed, I actually use it for a light lunch soup -mix a dab with chicken broth or miso, but I agree it’s not strong enough for a lemon grass replacement. When I lived in Boston I remember buying some fresh but frozen and keeping the stalks in the freezer. I’d take out a piece thaw and smash it then use it in recipes. I think next time I see it fresh I do that again.

    I also found I liked the cilantro and ginger in a tube that company makes!

    1. Yeah, for sure … I guess the solution is to buy a lot at once and make a paste with salt that you can freeze and use as needed. Probably another blog post in there 🙂

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