Foodstuff: Freeze-dried Lemon Grass

I have regularly had a jar of freeze-dried Chives from Litehouse in my cupboard for some time now and, at present, I also have jars of their Sage and Parsley as well. Those products are pretty decent, if not especially remarkable, and, when I came across a jar of their freeze-dried Lemon Grass I wanted to see if this might be a useful substitute to have on hand when the fresh article is unavailable…

On opening the jar, there is not much in the way of a lemon grass aroma and the sections of stalk are actually quite thick and woody. The label claims that you can just add water to produce the same quality as fresh but a simple taste test of the dry made me doubt the claim. It was clearly lemon grass I was tasting but the effect was weak and the woodiness did not soften much with chewing.

Lemon Grass often features in soups, especially in Thai cuisine, and I tried adding a teaspoon to boiling water and steeping for 5 minutes to test the quality that way. Again, the label suggests that 1 teaspoon of the dried is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of the fresh but that is, in my opinion, an optimistic claim. The flavor was very week and it seemed you me that, to produce the same flavor as the same amount of fresh, you would have to add enough of the dry to make a thick, porridge like consistency that would be inedible due to the tough woodiness.

I tried making a paste by adding a little boiling water to a couple of tablespoons of the product and then grinding it in my mortar. Even several minutes of considerable effort failed to reduce the woody bits to anything useful and I gave up after that. The taste was improved a little, strength-wise, but the result, to my mind was not worth it.

Ultimately, I have to pronounce this product a failure. I thought it might be useful to have on hand for an emergency but, to be honest, I don’t really have that many ‘Lemon Grass Emergencies’ and this item wouldn’t be of much use anyway. I threw the rest of the jar away…


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