Well at least I think it’s lemongrass. The leaves look right, and smell right. The flowers look about right. It’s the stalks that I’m not sure about. They’re segmented and kind of pulpy in the middle and also eight feet tall.
A friend gave them to me, pulled them out of her garden which they were threatening to overtake. I was very pleased, I love home grown surplus. It wasn’t til I got home that I started wondering about them. I chopped up some of the leaves and ran a bath over them. No scent. There was some scent when you rubbed the leaves. And the stalks didn’t look right, they are more like bamboo. “You’d better identify them properly before you kill us all”, said my killjoy husband. No sense of adventure, that man. I thought I’d experiment on myself by making lemongrass tea.
I took some leaves and snipped them into the Thermomix, they’re pretty dry and I didn’t fancy chopping them by hand or pounding them with a mortar and pestle, equipment with which I’ve never had any success at all.
I zapped that lot to get something that looked like it had been scraped from the underbelly of a lawnmower. Undeterred, I added two tablespoons of gunpowder green tea, that black stuff that looks like rat droppings.
It was very fragrant, no denying that. A bit reminiscent of lemon scented Jif, as I always find with lemongrass. I added a litre of water and set the Thermomix going at speed three on reverse at one hundred degrees for ten minutes. The result was full of stuff that I wasn’t confident my usual sieve would catch. So in a stroke of sheer genius I rummaged around in the back of the cupboard to find the coffee percolator we’d got as a wedding present that my brother-in-law actually broke on our wedding day. Couldn’t throw it out, sentimental reasons and all that. But look!
The filter fit exactly over my tea jug and did a marvellous job of removing all the very unappetising looking sediment. I added four tablespoons of honey to the hot tea and tasted. It tasted like slightly bitter green tea. I slung in a bit more honey, added a litre of cold water and stuck it in the fridge, hoping for the best.
I was called in to work the next day and my magic teaching tonsil tonic is iced tea, so I took some of my latest concoction. Much to my surprise it tasted completely different cold. Too much honey, for a start. Otherwise, light, fragrant, with a definite lemongrass aftertaste. Either that or some dishwasher powder residue. It’s good enough to make again, if I can ignore the clamouring for a return to the popular favourite of strawberry iced black tea.