Lemongrass is an excellent example of the value of local sourcing. When working with store-bought lemongrass, you get a very limited amount of aroma. This is because, by the time you get it, it has traveled by cargo ship for weeks, the stalks having long since died out. You’re basically cooking with a husk.
We work with Next Step Produce in Newburg, Maryland, a short hour and a half drive from us, where we pick up our lemongrass, having just been cut that morning. We take it back to the farm and immediately begin to juice and ferment the harvest, capturing those delicate and hugely pungent aromas in the brew. The whole barn smells like lemongrass for weeks!
The vinegar itself really highlights the difference, with the notes of lemongrass coming through beautifully, but more complex notes of orange, key lime, buddha’s hand, and other citrus can be faintly detected as a result of the fermentation. Between the aroma and the acid, this tastes like the best lemon juice you’ve ever tried, and can be used just as widely.