Lemongrass is a staple ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. It is used in curries and soups and has a citrusy taste similar to lemons. However, it is not as pungent as lemons are.
It also has a strong, earthy, and vegetal flavor that lemons don’t have. However, quite often a recipe calls for just one stick of lemongrass but perhaps you can only buy it in a pack of four or five in the store.
It only lasts for up to 14 days in the fridge and you might not want to make any Asian dishes again quite so soon. So, can you freeze it? The simple answer is yes, and in this article, we will tell you how to freeze lemongrass and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Lemongrass
There are two ways in which you can freeze lemongrass. You can either freeze the stalks whole or you can dice the stalks and freeze them in ice cube trays. We prefer the ice cube tray method as you can just pop the cubes straight into your dish. However, it does take some time to prepare and it is much easier to freeze the stalks whole.
How To Freeze Lemongrass Whole
1. Peel the lemongrass stalks.
Take off the outer woody leaves.
2. Put the stalks in freezer bags.
It is a good idea to put however many stalks you think you will need for one meal in separate bags. This will ensure that there is no wastage. Squeeze out the air from the bags to prevent freezer burn. The lemongrass will still be safe to use but it will lose its flavor so, in effect, it will be useless. Put a label on each bag with the date frozen and the contents.
How To Freeze Lemongrass in Ice Cube Trays
1. Peel the lemongrass stalks.
Remove the ends of the stalks and the woody outer leaves.
2. Finely slice the lemongrass.
3. Put the lemongrass in the ice cube slots.
Put a couple of tablespoons of the sliced lemongrass in each slot and top up with water. Don’t fill the slots up to the top because the water will expand when put in the freezer. When you have done this, put the ice cube tray in the freezer for a few hours until the cubes are frozen solid.
4. Put the ice cubes in a freezer bag.
The cubes won’t stick together because they are already frozen. Squeeze out the air from the bag to prevent freezer burn. Put a label on the bag with the date frozen and the contents.
5. Put the bag in the freezer.
Tips For Freezing Lemongrass
- Make sure you squeeze out all the air from the freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
- Add other spices to the ice cubes to create a flavor cube. What you choose will depend on the dish you are making. Ginger and fresh chilis are good additions if you are making Thai curry. Galangal and turmeric are also often used in Thai cuisine. A Thai green curry would also have cilantro, basil, cumin, and garlic, in addition to ginger and chili.
- It is better to freeze lemongrass in an ice cube tray as you can pop the cubes straight into a dish. If you freeze it whole, you have to defrost it and then slice it before you use it.
For How Long Can You Freeze Lemongrass?
We recommend that you only freeze your lemongrass for up to two months. After this time it will start to lose the fragrant flavor it has. This is the reason for using lemongrass so if the flavor disappears, it will be rendered useless. Because of this, it is important that you label your freezer bags so that you know by when you have to use it.
How Do You Defrost Lemongrass?
It’s so easy if you have frozen your lemongrass and possibly other herbs and spices as ice cubes. All you have to do is pop a cube or two into your curry, stir fry (see also Should You Freeze Rice Noodles?), or soup. The cubes will thaw out in a few minutes and the beautiful aroma of the lemongrass will permeate your dish. This is very handy if you work long hours as you can prepare the ice cubes when you have time at the weekend. When you get home from work, you can fry up the meat, fish, or vegetables, add the cubes and some coconut milk and you’re ready to go.
If you have frozen lemongrass whole, you can defrost it in the fridge for a couple of hours. Alternatively, you can leave it to soften on the countertop for about 45 minutes and then bash it with a rolling pin to break it up. It’s as simple as that. It is then ready to use in your dish.
How To Use Frozen Lemongrass
If you have frozen lemongrass whole, you can use it in the same way as you would fresh lemongrass. Bruise the stalk and then slice at an angle to create sections approximately one inch in length and add to your dish. Of course, if you have frozen the lemongrass in an ice cube tray, your work has already been done.
You should really remove the stalks from the dish before serving as they might be a bit tough. However, if they were very fresh before you put them in the freezer, they may be soft enough to be left in. They are, in fact, edible and you will get a lovely lemony perfume flavor. If they are soft enough, you can even add them to salads. Why not try a sweet chili and lemongrass chicken and noodle salad. You can also make a nice lemongrass dressing for a salad.
Can You Refreeze Lemongrass?
We don’t recommend that you refreeze lemongrass because of the delicate flavor. Freezing, defrosting, and then freezing again will lessen the aroma and flavor. Instead, if you are freezing whole stalks, make sure that you divide them into meal-size portions. If you are freezing in an ice cube tray, you are able to just remove as many cubes as you need.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Lemongrass?
Yes, it is, as long as you don’t keep it in the freezer for longer than two months. After this time, it starts to lose flavor and aroma which are the two things you want out of lemongrass.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all about freezing lemongrass but in case you are still curious, we have answered a few questions here.
Can you freeze soup with lemongrass?
Yes, you can, although you will have to take note of the other ingredients to make sure that they can be frozen. If your soup has lemongrass in it, you can only freeze it for up to eight weeks.
Can you freeze lemongrass paste?
Yes, you can whether it is homemade or shop-bought. The best way to do this is to freeze it in an ice cube tray. Don’t fill the slots up to the top because the paste will expand when frozen. When the cubes are solid, put them in a freezer bag and put the bag in the freezer. When you need to use lemongrass paste in a dish, take out as many cubes as you need and pop them in the pot. It can be used in the same way as lemongrass stalks.
Can you freeze lemongrass leaves?
It is safe to do so but it isn’t recommended as they deteriorate in texture and lose flavor when frozen, much more quickly than the stalks.