Don't toss those extra leaves! Here's how to use them to make homegrown shoots.
When cooking with lemon grass, we use only the tender inner leaves from the bottom 4 or 5 inches of the stalk, which we find more flavorful and less fibrous than the outer leaves or the upper green parts of the stalk. When we recently found ourselves with an excess of lemon grass, we had an idea: Could we place the stalks in a glass of water and, as we have with scallions, grow tender shoots from the top that would be usable for cooking? To find out, we removed any loose leaves from the exterior of a lemon grass stalk with the root end intact, placed it in about 3 inches of water in a glass on a sunny windowsill, and changed the water daily. Sure enough, in about two days, shoots sprouted from the top of the stalk. The shoots continued to grow quickly, about 2 inches a day. Plus, the bottom of the stalk remained tender and fresh. When we compared our homegrown shoots with the bottom parts that we usually use in Thai Chicken Soup, the shoots were less tender than stalks but were no less flavorful and fragrant.