Lemongrass – Expect The Unexpected

Recently I started working with a group of wonderful people passionate about natural farming & promoting related acts and ideas that are fundamental to feed our body and soul with clean food. More about that later, and for now, here is one of the first fruits of our cooperation that naturally evolved amongst us.

I had met with Lemongrass at the Botanical Park of Crete, but somehow it is not a plant that I would typically expect to find on Crete. Yet, they are happily growing on the beautiful natural farm of Leonidas. Well… what happened do you think after all? Here is another first experience in the series of Aromatic Adventures in Crete with a visual report from yesterday on the lemongrass harvest & distillation at Full Moon.

Leonidas is one of the founding members of the farmers’ circle I mentioned. He has been taking care of his beautiful natural farm for 5 years, on a land that belonged to his grandfather who was still coming along to the field from the neighbouring village riding a donkey, no matter rain, wind or burning sun. Today there is a complete biodiversity here where various plants thriving along with one another, and for instance, lemongrass neighbouring with rosemary.

This is the second year that Leonidas is harvesting lemongrass, but in fact, he was not doing much with it last year. Therefore it’s exciting for him as well to get the crop for the magic process of distillation. We are experimenting with the techniques of harvesting, any ways, hiding in the luscious tussock is fun and a sweet act in this shiny company.

By the way, this lemongrass is what makes the thai Tom Yum soup so yummy and delicious. But, hey city people, appreciate your shopping, it takes a lot to get your food deliveries done from the farm to your table. Part of the job – actually, an ongoing task of a farmer – is collecting snails. It secures that you get what you want before somebody else eating up this key ingredient from the field…

We were really lucky, as the weather started to be a bit funny and rainy after we collected what we needed. The small shelter on the field though let us do chopping the lemongrass into small pieces and prepare it for distillation. This stage of the works is already a real aromatic experience as the special spicy scent releases with every cut of the stems, spreading the refreshing and uplifting lemony aroma of lemongrass all around to makes us bright!

As soon as I get back home to The Living-Room Distillery, the still is prepared, just ready to be filled with the freshly cut and chopped lemongrass. To get the best of both worlds, I am doing a mixed process of steam and hydro-distillation. As the sun sets we have a magical atmosphere, watching as the Full Moon rises.

Together with the Moon, the temperature rises, while steam starts to develop and take the aromatic compounds with them. When the first drops of lemongrass distillate arrive… they are deliciously fresh and surprisingly warming, with a hint of spicy background note. Lemongrass is truly uplifting the heart and it could not be manifested more symbolically than as it happened on this special night: a hint of essential oil shaping clearly a heart appeared on top of the Lemongrass hydrosol!

Lemongrass. Expanding the heart. Magic at Full moon.

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