Lemongrass and Other Grasses We Eat

Lemongrass and Other Grasses We Eat

You might think that anything with the word “grass” in its name is only a suitable food for animals, like cows and horses. But did you know there are around 400 kinds of edible grasses?

Let’s dig in and explore some of these grasses we can eat..

Yum, Lemongrass

One of the most popular is lemongrass. As the name suggests, it has a strong citrus kind of flavor, a lot like lemon.

It’s been used for thousands of years as a flavoring in cooking. Lemongrass is especially popular in Asian countries, and it’s used a lot in Indian dishes. It’s used in all kinds of yummy dishes, like Pad Thai and curries.

shrimp pad thai and saag paneer curry

Lemongrass leaves are used in teas, soups, stews, as a stuffing for chicken. You can even cut the leaves a little long and use them as a barbeque basting brush!

If you can find it at the grocery store, you can grow your own lemongrass plant!

Take one of the leaves and cut a couple inches off the end. Put what’s left in a glass of water in a sunny place and let it grow some roots.

Then you can plant it in a pot filled with some good soil, and there you have it! You would have your very own lemongrass plant.

Bamboo is a Grass

bamboo stalks and a panda munching on bamboo

Another grass which is edible and a popular addition to Asian cuisine is bamboo! Yes, you too can enjoy bamboo shoots like a panda bear. It’s a great addition to stir fries.

Grass Cereal?

Most cereal grains are actually grass. Wheat and oats come from grasses which have been grown out to seed. When you let the plants grow, they sprout seeds. The seeds are harvested and processed to make favorites like breakfast cereals and oatmeal.

Wheat grass is a popular item in the health food area. It’s juiced to make a healthy drink.

The reason that grasses and their seeds are cooked or juiced is because humans just don’t have the right enzymes in their stomachs to break down the fibers. We also don’t have “enough” stomach to break down blades of grass.

Cows are called a ruminant. They have four stomach chambers to process their food! And horses have especially long intestines to break down the fibers of grass and hay.

There are many things that come from grasses which we consume regularly though. They are products from grass plants.

Rice is a Grass

Another grass that everyone has eaten, some times regularly, is rice. That’s right, rice is part of the grass family. And rice is consumed all over the world!

Sugar Cane is a Grass

sugar cane plants and a bowl of sugar

The sugar cane is also a type of grass. Sugar cane is grown in tropical climates and the stalks are where the sugar comes from.

If you ever come across a sugar cane plant, you can take a bit of the stalk and pull off the fibrous exterior and nibble on the soft center, which is sweet.

Rye, Barley, and Oats are Grasses

rye, wheat, and oat grasses

Other products that come from many types of grass seed would be flour. Rye and barley and wheat are all grown and the seeds are harvested and dried, then ground, to produce flour.

Corn is a Grass

corn stalks, cornmeal, and corn on the cob

Corn is another type of grass grown for its seeds.

Corn has been used for centuries to produce corn meal. It was a major crop for the Native Americans. They introduced corn to the settlers of America when they came across from Europe.

There are other types of grass which grow in the wild that are safe to eat. Grass blades and stalks don’t have a lot of nutritional value for humans. They do contain a whole lot of nutrients though. Minerals and vitamins are all present in grass. Both in the plant itself and the seeds.

Don't Eat Your Lawn Though

person trimming grass with shears

While it isn’t recommended that you gather your lawn clippings and make a salad from them, you technically could.

The amount of grass that you’d have to eat to get any nutritional value from it is pretty staggering. So, don’t plan on mowing your lawn with your teeth. It just wouldn’t be worth it!

The other reason to avoid munching on grass by itself is it contains a lot of silica. That’s what the plants cells are made of. This substance will wear your teeth out, which your dentist won’t approve of.

There are plenty of other grasses which can be used to add flavor, like lemongrass, to your dishes. And there a multitude of products which come from grasses that we already enjoy regularly.

Enjoy the flavor of lemongrass in the satay from our Singapore box as you eat2explore!

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