Sunday, June 7, 2009

HERBS and SPICES, AND, MEDICINE IN OUR OWN BACKYARD

THIS PART YOU CAN PUT IN A CUP TO ROOT FOR YOUR GARDEN
HERE STEMS ARE ALL CLEANED AND READY FOR THE SOUP POT

READY TO TAKE TO THE MARKET,OR TO SELL WHOLESALE TO THE VENDORS AT THE MARKET ,OR TO SEND TO BANGKOK OR KANCHANABURI, TO THE MANY THAI RESTAURANTS FOR THEIR KITCHENS.

OTT: CLEANING AND TRIMMING THE LEMON GRASS, ONLY THE STEMS ARE USED FOR THE SOUPS, AS A SEASONING AND THE LEAVES THEY CAN BOIL DOWN FOR LEMON OIL.

DIRTY WORK , BUT, A VERY GOOD MONEY CROP FOR OTT AND HER FAMILY
RUBBER BOOTS ARE A MUST WHEN HARVESTING LEMON GRASS IN THE RAINY SEASON

THE STEMS IN ONE PILE AND THE LEAVES IN ANOTHER, GETTING READY FOR THE WASHING ,THAT WILL CLEAN THEM BEFORE TAKING TO THE MARKET TO SELL.

The other day I saw my neighbor,Ott going down the road with a load of grass in the side car of her scooter, and being one ,not to miss a good photo shot ,went to investigate the scene. It was grass, but a special kind of grass, called Lemon Grass. I thought to myself ,I'll share these pictures and do a little informative (not thesis) post about Lemon Grass and it's many uses around the world and here in Thailand SOOOOO here goes.
Lemon Grass is a native to India, It is used as a herb in Asian cooking,it has a citrus flavor,it can be dried or powered or used fresh in many Asian dishes . No tum Yum soup would be complete without a few chopped up pieces of lemon Grass put in the water along with many other kinds of veggies and meats and fishes,for that all important lemony taste (not to be eaten but to flavor only) that makes Tum Yum sooooo good .

Lemon Grass is also used as a pesticide, Ciejay always pulls off a leaf and crushes it in her hand and rubs it on her arms and legs ,when she goes out to work in the garden or to pull weeds around the flower beds , to protect her skin, and to keep the mosquitos from biting her while outside, when we eat outside in the gazebo some evenings, we burn candles that have been made with lemon grass oil to keep them away too, seems to work ok.
Something I didn't know is that Lemon Grass is used as a preservative to put on ancient manuscripts to keep them fluidity and to keep them from getting brittle it has a hydrophobic nature and keeps the manuscripts dry ,so that the text is not lost to decay due to humidity.

When we bought our home Thailand and I made a couple of the tables we use in our home from wood that we removed from the sides of the building, and replaced with concrete, I used lemon oil as a preservative to protect the wood againts termites, and also when rubbed in very good and polished after it drys , leaves a beautiful glossy finish.
Lemon grass also has a lot of medicinal properties and is used extensively in ancient Indian medicines,it is supposed to help with relieving cough and nasal congestion .Ciejay says that tea made with Lemon Grass is good for stomach problems too.Also she said you can shampoo your hair wit the oil ,to get rid of dandruff.

Most of the information and some of the pictures came from the Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Hope you enjoy.

It is easy to grow ,in fact we have several stands of it growing out our back door , we took the ends of the pplants we bought in the market for soup and put them in a cup of water till roots appeared and then I planted them in the yard and Kazam in a few months we had our own stand of lemon grass , it also grows well in a pot and makes a great house plant. Malcolm

6 comments:

The FrogBlogger said...

I'm addicted to the lemon grass cold drinks they serve in restaurants, or those you can buy in the 7-11's.

Mike said...

Malcolm, I had never really used lemon grass before coming here, but you are right Thai cooking and lemon grass go together.

Nice pics too.

MJ Klein said...

Malcolm, i really enjoyed this article. i've always taken lemon grass for granted, as just another part of life in Asia. i didn't realize that it had that many uses. one of the places where i stay outside of Kohnkaen has an herb garden and every spice used in the dishes serves on the premises comes from that garden - including lemon grass. i will say that the first time i ever had it in a dish, i did try to eat it! oh man, i'll never do that again!

Tipper said...

I've seen lemon grass on tv but never for real. Interesting!

Martyn said...

A very interesting article, I didn't know lemon grass had so many uses. The rubbing of a crushed leaf onto your skin to stop the mosquitoes biting is most useful to know and I will give it a try when I'm in Thailand next. I'm not yet a great lover of Thai food but the lemon grass flavour is one that I do actually like and I must try the cold drinks that Peter mentioned. Have a good day cowboy.

Jade said...

Hey Malcolm!This is a wonderful post.I didn't know that this is also an anti mosquito thing.I will try this out on our next visit to our farm in the Philippines.I am also excited to wear my new rubber boots!LOL!