In an herb bed, it becomes one of a cook's resources to create a memorable meal, but for the gardener, the ingredient is less remarkable.That means that new plants must be produced from rooted cuttings in order to have the classic tarragon flavor.Grown as a clump-forming perennial in most of the country, French tarragon thrives in regions where winter provides a period of rest and summers are not too hot or too wet.French tarragon has a fleshy root system that prefers a loose, soil enriched with organic matter.If your soil is heavy and your climate hot and humid, you will have the best chance of success by planting in a container or hanging basket where it drains well and has good air circulation.If your container plant turns brown and looks dead in winter, even if it is in your house or greenhouse, cut it back and give it time.Like most herbs, French tarragon is delicious fresh, but for winter the leaves need to be preserved.French terragon is a traditional seasoning with eggs, poultry, salads, cheese, and fish. .
How to Grow and Care for French Tarragon
sativa A delightful and easy herb to grow for the kitchen garden, French tarragon has an appealing flavor similar to sweet anise and licorice.It makes a fast-growing and attractive plant in containers or herb borders, and features upright growth, slender green and silver leaves, and a distinct, appealing fragrance.The fresh leaves are used in a variety of dishes, such as those with eggs, fish, mushrooms, tomatoes, and poultry, and are noted for their use in French cuisine and sauces.And although its chromosomal profile shows it to be a sterile derivative of the Russian variety, A. dracunculoides pursch, the two shouldn’t be confused.However, its use in the kitchen is limited due to its bitter taste and musty aroma – although people from the Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia use it to flavor soft drinks, cider, and tobacco.Mexican mint tarragon, Tagetes lucida, is an unrelated perennial native to Mexico and Guatemala and also grows from seed, with germination and growth habits similar to that of marigolds.Hardy only to Zone 9, the foliage has a distinct and rich licorice flavor very similar to true tarragon – which makes it well-suited as a culinary substitute in regions with intense summer heat.In comparison, the French variety has a much fuller flavor than the closely related Russian type, and is considered by chefs and home cooks alike to be of superior quality for culinary purposes.The fresh leaves are used extensively with egg, fish, and poultry dishes, and veggies such as mushrooms and tomatoes.sativa is one of the first herbs to break dormancy, sending up shoots in late winter or early spring.According to herbalist folklore, it was later brought to France in the 14th century by Saint Catherine of Siena, and quickly spread throughout Europe where it was grown in monastic gardens.Plants reach a height of 24 to 36 inches with a 12 to 15-inch spread, and quickly form robust clumps via root runners.The small cream or yellow flowers are insignificant and seeds are sterile, with propagation achieved vegetatively through root division or stem cuttings.An outstanding feature is that frequent pruning produces vigorous branching for a steady supply of leaves throughout spring and summer.Tarragon is a “nurse” plant considered to be beneficial throughout the garden, and can be used in herb knots as well as flower and vegetable beds.Pests, such as flea beetles and whiteflies, dislike the fragrance and tend to avoid areas where it’s planted.It’s also well suited to container growth, and makes an attractive and fragrant addition to kitchen gardens and patio pots.Plant the divisions in containers filled with fresh soil or directly in the ground as outlined in the How to Grow section below.Growth is most active in the cool temperatures of spring, and plants will appreciate some afternoon shade in summer’s heat when hot, direct sunshine can cause them to sag.Continue to harvest or clip the stems regularly to maintain lush, branching growth throughout the season.In late fall, clean beds and containers of any plant debris to prevent harmful pathogens from overwintering.Before winter, mulch the crown with a two- to four-inch layer of leaf mold or straw to protect against freezing temperatures.In late winter before new growth emerges, remove any mulch, cut back any remaining stems to one inch, and top-dress with organic material such as well-rotted manure or compost.Transferred by wind, leaves develop brown, white, or yellow spots with a fuzzy gray mold on the underside.Ensure proper air circulation and water plants in the morning, so that leaves dry by evening.It appears as small white or yellow spots that form orange or red pustules, causing deformation and defoliation.Remove and destroy infected leaves, and ensure plant debris is cleared away before winter sets in.Transfer frozen stems to a resealable plastic bag and remove excess air before sealing and storing in the freezer.When dry, crumble the leaves into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and store in a cool, dark cupboard.Create your own herbed vinaigrette for salads and vegetables – and be sure to add a pinch of dry mustard for an unforgettable flavor.Add fresh leaves to roasted chicken, fish en papillote, a frittata or omelet, or as a pizza topping.And for a unique and refreshing drink, add a sprig to a cool summer spritzer or vinegar shrub. .
How to grow and care for tarragon
Tarragon isn’t a widely grown herb at home, but it is well worth it especially if you like French cuisine, for which it is a popular and traditional ingredient.Tarragon is a perennial, and one plant will give you masses of leaves to pick over several years.Tarragon needs a sunny, warm and sheltered position to do well and produce strongly flavoured leaves.When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant individually into small pots and grow them on in cooler conditions – around 10°C (50°F) – until large enough to plant outside after the risk of frost has passed, after hardening off – acclimatise them to outdoor conditions – for 7 to 10 days.Mix in more organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole.Water in well and apply a light dressing of a granular general feed over the soil.French tarragon is not completely cold hardy and may need winter protection by covering plants with a cloche, fleece or straw.If growing in containers, move to a sheltered position – even a shed or garage – when the plant has died down during the winter months. .
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), also known as estragon, is a species of perennial herb in the sunflower family.The leaves are lanceolate, 2–8 cm (1–3 in) long and 2–10 mm (1⁄8–3⁄8 in) broad, glossy green, with an entire margin.The flowers are produced in small capitula 2–4 mm (1⁄16–3⁄16 in) diameter, each capitulum containing up to 40 yellow or greenish-yellow florets.French tarragon is the variety used for cooking in the kitchen and is not grown from seed, as the flowers are sterile; instead it is propagated by root division.Russian tarragon (A. dracunculoides L.) can be grown from seed but is much weaker in flavor when compared to the French variety. However, Russian tarragon is a far more hardy and vigorous plant, spreading at the roots and growing over a meter tall.It is not as strongly aromatic and flavorsome as its French cousin, but it produces many more leaves from early spring onwards that are mild and good in salads and cooked food.Russian tarragon loses what flavor it has as it ages and is widely considered useless as a culinary herb, though it is sometimes used in crafts.Tarragon has a flavor and odor profile reminiscent of anise, due largely to the presence of estragole, a known carcinogen and teratogen in mice.However, a European Union investigation concluded that the danger of estragole is minimal even at 100–1,000 times the typical consumption seen in humans.Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking, and is particularly suitable for chicken, fish, and egg dishes.Tarragon is used to flavor a popular carbonated soft drink in the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (where it originally comes from) and, by extension, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.The drink, named Tarkhuna, is made out of sugary tarragon concentrate and colored bright green.In Slovenia, tarragon is used in a variation of the traditional nut roll sweet cake, called potica.Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis has revealed that A.
dracunculus oil contains predominantly phenylpropanoids such as estragole (16.2%), methyl eugenol (35.8%), and trans-anethole (21.1%). The other major constituents were terpenes and terpenoids, including α-trans-ocimene (20.6%), limonene (12.4%), α-pinene (5.1%), allo-ocimene (4.8%), methyl eugenol (2.2%), β-pinene (0.8%), α-terpinolene (0.5%), bornyl acetate (0.5%) and bicyclogermacrene (0.5%).James Andrew Beard, American cookbook author, teacher, syndicated columnist and television personality, was quoted as saying, "I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around.Fernand Point, French chef and restaurateur, was quoted as saying "A Bearnaise sauce is simply an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar, and butter, but it takes years of practice for the result to be perfect. .
French Tarragon and the Russian Impostor – Laidback Gardener
It is one of the four official “fines herbes” recommended by French chef Auguste Escoffier in the early 20th century for use in egg, fish, and chicken dishes, the other three being parsley (Petroselinum crispum), chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and chervil (Anthriscus cerfefolium), a quartet still promoted by chefs of the French persuasion worldwide.French tarragon has a distinctive taste: a very intense mixture of anise and camphor with its own special touch.Its lanceolate leaves are medium green and borne on a shrubby-looking plant about 24 to 30 inches (60 to 80 cm) high.If ever you do get a seed to germinate, the plant won’t have the proper French tarragon taste; it will have reverted to the flavor of wild estragon.Most people don’t even bother putting efforts into overwintering it: if it’s not alive come spring, they simply buy a new plant.It produces an abundance of fertile flowers and sometimes self-sows excessively, just as it may become invasive due to its rhizomes, although quite honestly, it expands quite slowly.Honestly, all tarragons are fairly ugly, or at least, definitely on the less attractive side of the Artemisia genus, which otherwise gives us so many silvery-leaved, ornamental perennials and subshrubs: silver mound (A. schmidtiana), white sage (A.
ludoviciana), etc.You can get true French tarragon from all sorts of mail order sources, such as the aforementioned Richters Herbs.You have to hope the plants are correctly labeled, though, as the two are pretty similar in their youth, although French tarragon is a darker green compared to the pale green of Russian tarragon (you have to see them side by side to really notice the difference). .
How to Grow Tarragon
Yet with some care and caution, you can grow a thriving French tarragon patch that will keep you well-supplied with herbs through the spring and summer months.Look for tarragon from spring through the summer months at your garden center, or order online from a reputable plant nursery.Since French tarragon is a temperamental plant to grow in the garden, it is best to place it where you can somewhat control soil, water and temperature conditions.A raised bed in a sunny location, where it can get at least 8 hours of sun, is ideal, or if you live in a climate that experiences frost or snow, plant in a container that can be brought indoors during the winter.Water in and cover with about a half-inch of mulch, just enough to keep the sun off the roots and the soil moist.The oregano, chives and thyme in the same bed make it challenging to keep tarragon growing.Russian Mild to no flavor Easier to grow; big perennial; can sow from seed in warmer climates; attractive plant Mexican Not good for cooking; some medicinal uses.To keep French tarragon thriving in the garden, it is important to protect its roots.Micro sprinklers are quite gentle to the tarragon plant and keep the leaves clean.French tarragon has fairly shallow roots, so during summer months, you will need to water daily.In winter, when the plant has died back, you don't need to water until you see new shoots coming up in early spring.To use tarragon, simply cut the sprig with scissors or garden shears.Give the entire plant a haircut, cutting all the sprigs about halfway down, in July.This will help the plant send out more leaves, keeping you in tarragon until late fall or even early winter.Gently clip back brown stems to the ground, taking care not to disturb the soil.Provided that you do not get too many frost days, the tarragon plant will come back in spring.2-3 long sprigs French tarragon (tear or chop leaves, discard stems).Mix together cubed chicken breast, tarragon leaves, grapes, cornichons, and mayonnaise until well-combined.Mound chicken salad mixture onto one slice of wheat bread.Top with lettuce leaf and second slice of bread to make sandwich.Should I bring it up into the kitchen (warm and dry) or put it in my mini greenhouse?Answer: It might do better in your outdoor greenhouse, provided that you aren’t in an area that gets below 40 degree temperatures.Great piece of writing and good advice on herb tending.I enjoy sprinkling flakes of french terragon on baked fish.KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on July 05, 2013:.Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on July 05, 2013:.Nice work study buddy - excellent job, your hub looks great!I grow a lot of my herbs in containers only because I find many of them can become quite territorial and overgrow fast.I plan on planting herbs at some point, and will check back on this hub when the time comes.KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on July 05, 2013:.I knew when I commented on this article a couple of weeks back that it was definitely HOTD material.KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on June 16, 2013:. .
Meet the herb of the year, Artemisia
There are many Artemisias, including the perennial dusty millers, sagebrush, mugwort and wormwood used to flavor the potent potable Absinthe.French tarragon is a classic herb used in cooking, especially with chicken, fish, stews or vegetables.Occasionally under the right conditions, the leaves may have a couple lobes at the end closest to the stem.Most books list the species as “dracunculus,” meaning little dragon and pronounced “dra-cunk-u-lus.” The roots are a tangled mess that resembles snakes.However, we know for a fact the above species was given to Russian tarragon, the true plant found near the Caspian Sea.If you put a leaf in your mouth, it almost tastes like grass mixed with alfalfa, not something you want to cook with.Those who grow French tarragon have no problems using the leaves, even going out to the garden, pulling off a leaf and chewing it.That’s followed by a numbing action on the tongue, which might not be so bad if you have to swallow something horrible like nasty tasting medicine or beets.Remove your hand from your nose and you’ll be overwhelmed with the taste and aroma of the herb.While the plant is classified as a perennial, the biggest problem is an extremely wet soil during the winter.You can cut the plant back by one-third and harvest the leaves by the middle of spring in most areas. .