Lemongrass gets its name from lemon, a popular citrus, but the juice of lemons is a little more acidic than what lemongrass brings.
Lemongrass is also known for its health benefits and its use in a healing tea that is drunk in many parts of the world to boost immunity, tame gastrointestinal issues, and even fever.
So, where can you find lemongrass in the grocery store?
You’re most likely to find lemongrass in the produce section of the grocery store. It will likely be with other plants used to flavor food like whole ginger or its own section near other specialty fruits and vegetables.
If it’s with fresh produce, you’ll usually see stalks in a plastic container, or potentially in a bunch, similar to green onions or chives.
If your supermarket doesn’t have fresh lemongrass stalks, they might carry squeeze bottles of lemongrass paste, also known as kreung. This pureed lemongrass will be in the produce section, in the area that displays fresh herbs, such as tubes of basil or cilantro.
If you can’t buy it fresh at your local supermarket, you might still be able to find dried lemongrass or lemongrass oil. Both will be located in the spice aisle, in smaller bottles near the ground ginger or turmeric.
You’ll have the best chance of finding lemongrass at Asian grocery stores, but many regular supermarkets are starting to carry it, as well. It’s also common in specialty food stores, farmer’s markets, and other places that carry specialty products and ingredients from tropical climates.
Lemongrass resembles green onions with its long, pale green stalks and thicker bottoms. The stalks are tough but the tips are bright green and release a wonderful citrus scent. You can find them in the grocery store in bundles.
In most stores, fresh lemongrass is very affordable, costing the equivalent of $1 per stalk. You can buy a package of two stalks from Simple Truth Organic for just under $2. A 3.5-ounce jar of lemongrass paste costs close to $8.
While lemongrass isn’t very expensive to purchase, you can also buy a plant to grow your own. A plant costs anywhere from $8 to $16. They’re easy plants to grow as long as you protect them from the cold. You can let them grow in the kitchen so you can enjoy their citrusy aroma at all times.
As your lemongrass plant grows, you can use it in recipes. Look for the older stalks and break them off as close to the roots as possible. Discard the leaves and the woody portion and use the interior in your recipes.
Where to buy Lemongrass near me?
Here are supermarkets where you’re most likely to find fresh lemongrass:
- Whole Foods: Because it’s known for specialty and ethnic foods, Whole Foods will almost always have fresh lemongrass stalks in the produce section.
- Wegmans: Wegmans prides itself on having a large variety of foods, and because of this, will reliably have both fresh stalks and lemongrass paste available.
- Stop & Shop: Nature’s Promise, Stop & Shop’s healthy food line, often has fresh lemongrass, and there is usually paste available as well.
- Publix: While they might not always have fresh lemongrass stalks, Publix will reliably have both kreung and dried lemongrass.
- Safeway: Similar to Stop & Shop, Safeway’s health brand, Gourmet Garden, will likely carry fresh lemongrass and paste.
- Kroger: Kroger might not always have fresh lemongrass, but they will usually have paste and dried, and you can use Kroger’s website to find out which store locations have it in stock.
- Local Health Food Stores: Because of lemongrass’s varied health benefits and use in medicinal teas, your local health food store will most likely carry both fresh lemongrass and paste.
- Asian Supermarkets: Since its origins are in South and Southeast Asia, and its most commonly used in cuisines from those regions, Asian supermarkets will reliably have fresh and dried lemongrass, as well as kreung.
How to buy Lemongrass online
Here are the best places to find lemongrass it online:
- Amazon: Amazon is the most reliable place to find lemongrass. Both Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods carry it fresh, often with same-day delivery. You can also find many retailers on Amazon that sell bulk dried lemongrass, as well as kreung and lemongrass essential oils.
- Walmart: While you can sometimes find it in person in Walmart stores, you’ll have a better chance of finding it in many forms on their website.
- Instacart: If any major supermarket chain in your area has lemongrass, you can have Instacart deliver it to your door in a matter of hours, both fresh and in paste form.
- Mercato: You can have fresh or bottled lemongrass delivered to your door for a small fee or free if you have MercatoGreen, their monthly subscription service.
- Fresh Direct: Fresh direct has tons of fresh delivery options, including lemongrass stalks and paste.
You can store stalks of lemongrass in the refrigerator for anywhere from a week to 10 days. Loosely wrap the bottoms of the stalks in damp paper towels to keep them from drying out. You can also wrap them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to keep their moisture inside.
You can also freeze lemongrass to keep it for a longer time. There’s a little more prep work for this method because you don’t want the stalks to get stuck together in the freezer.
First, trim the leaves and root ends of each stalk. Place them on a baking sheet with plenty of space between each stalk. Once they’re frozen, you can transfer them to an air-tight container.
You need to freeze the stalks separately at first so their inner moisture doesn’t cause them to bond. After they’re frozen completely, you don’t have to worry about that moisture anymore.
You can store them in a smaller container. Since they were previously individually frozen, you’ll have no trouble removing just one or two stalks at a time without needing to thaw the whole batch.
You can make lemongrass paste and freeze it. Grind the stalks in a food processor or using a mortar and pestle. Scoop mounds of one tablespoon each onto a plate or baking sheet and put them in the freezer.
Once they’ve frozen, you can transfer them to an air-tight container or Ziploc bag for more compact storage.
Yes, any lemongrass you’re not immediately using in a recipe will keep in the refrigerator. You can wrap it in a damp paper towel to keep the moisture inside and it will stay fresh for a week or 10 days.
What can i get instead of Lemongrass?
There are a couple of lemongrass substitutions you can find in your cupboard that will do the job for most recipes.
While neither of these herby leaves are very common pantry staples, if you happen to have some in your garden or on your counter they are ideal alternative, especially in soups and sauces. Because of their relatively subtle flavor, they can be used liberally without overpowering the dish. Use them like you would a bay leaf, throw two leaves per lemongrass stalk into a soup or sauce while it is simmering, and remove before serving your dish.
Cilantro and ginger are a match made in heaven, and if you’re a regular home cook, you’ll probably already have some in your kitchen. The sweetness from the ginger and the bite from the cilantro is reminiscent of lemongrass, making this substitution perfect for any dish. Use about one tablespoon of each per lemongrass stalk.
While this may seem obvious, it is worth mentioning in a bit more detail. Lemongrass gets its name from its similar flavor to the popular citrus, but the juice of lemons is a little more acidic than what lemongrass brings. Instead, try using the zest of one medium-sized lemon for each stalk in your recipe.