It has a unique, slightly sweet flavor similar to anise or licorice, with nuances of pepper and eucalyptus that make it a stand-alone in the herb world.A member of the Asteraceae or Compositae family, the same as sunflowers, French tarragon is a perennial herb with the Latin moniker A. dracunculus sativa – or “little dragon” – attributed to its twisting, serpentine root growth.Typical of many Artemisia, it has light green, aromatic foliage with a silver frosting that makes it an attractive and fragrant ornamental border plant, as well as a useful kitchen herb.French, or “true” tarragon, grows well in temperate zones and is the preferred selection by chefs and cooks in Europe and North America.Russian, or “false” tarragon, is also from the same genus – A. dracuncoloides pursch, more specifically – and hails from the same regions of central Asia, Siberia, and Mongolia.The Russian variety looks very similar to its French cousin, but its flavor and fragrance is generally deemed inferior, with a bitter taste and slightly moldy aroma.T. lucida belongs instead to the genus Tagetes, or marigolds, and its leaves were used by the Aztec people to flavor chocolate beverages.Its leaves are redolent with the anise flavor of the true variety and it makes a much better culinary substitute than the Russian type.These can be used fresh or dried for their sweet anise flavor in sauces, soups, salad dressings, and pretty much any dish that calls for tarragon would be used in.And current research suggests that its polyphenolic compounds may help to lower blood sugar levels, as well as reduce chronic inflammation.The leaves and roots of the Mexican variety also contain important flavonoids for potent free radical scavenging, such as patuletin, quercetin, and rutin.And the brightly colored yellow and orange flowers also contain the carotenoid lutein, another powerful antioxidant that helps to repair DNA and cell damage.Tarragon is used to flavor a diverse range of foods – everything from mustard to sweet nut cakes to chicken soup.Its distinct flavor can quite easily dominate and drown out milder ones, so care needs to be taken when adding it to a dish – a little goes a long way, particularly when it’s used fresh.The leaves of the Mexican type have a slightly sweeter flavor, and can be substituted freely in all culinary applications where the herb is called for.Combine it with mustard for topping seafood dishes like a lobster or crab hoagie, and it will even liven up a tuna salad.Crush some mustard seeds with freshly minced tarragon and whip up a dynamic compound butter for your favorite steak, lobster, or even a baked potato.Combined, the herbs are used in spice blends for boiled or steamed seafood, such as a bouillabaisse mix, in some curry dishes, and to season chicken stews and soups.Fresh leaves can also be muddled into a light syrup to use in refreshing summer spritzers and vinegar shrubs, or use a large sprig as a garnish in anisette-based cocktails.And remember, if you live in a hot climate, the Mexican variety makes a great substitute to cook with, and to grow in your garden.


8 Surprising Benefits and Uses of Tarragon

Manganese is an essential nutrient that plays a role in brain health, growth, metabolism and the reduction of oxidative stress in your body ( 3 , 4 , 5 ).Summary Tarragon is low in calories and carbs and contains the nutrients manganese, iron and potassium, which may be beneficial for your health. .

What Is Tarragon and How Is It Used?

Tarragon is a leafy green herb that is highly aromatic with a subtle licorice flavor.It adds a fresh, spring taste and a bit of elegance to a variety of recipes, including salad dressings, sauces, and fish and chicken dishes, and is commonly used in French cooking.Tarragon is an ingredient in many French dishes, including Béarnaise sauce, and because of its delicate flavor pairs well with fish, chicken, and eggs.Many chefs will not use dried tarragon as it has lost the fine and subtle characteristics that make fresh so appealing.Tarragon is one of those herbs people tend to either love or hate, depending on whether they prefer the taste of licorice.It is a combination of bitter and sweet, with touches of vanilla, mint, pepper, and eucalyptus, distinguishing it from other licorice-tasting foods like fennel.That being said, the French variety is mild, marrying these contrasting flavors together to create an elegant and delicate herb.Dried tarragon is added early on in recipes but will not create the same effect as fresh due to its diminished flavor.You can find dried tarragon in the spice aisle of most supermarkets, and it's also widely available online from major retailers.Fresh tarragon may be a little trickier to find as it is not as popular as other herbs, such as parsley, chives, dill, and cilantro.Rinse and pat dry fresh tarragon, wrap it in a damp paper towel, and place it in an airtight container where it will last for about two weeks in the refrigerator. .

What is Tarragon?

Label something as “King” (see especially: beers and burgers) and you're setting yourself up for disappointment—they rarely live up to their regal name.When we add fresh herbs to a dish, we’re far more likely to reach for basil, chives, or even the polarizing cilantro, only procuring tarragon when a recipe calls for it.It doesn't have a harsh flavor; Kristen describes it “like licorice chilled out and went to the countryside.” Our beloved thirschfeld adds: “The smell is a magical anise elixir, packed with the promise of the other herbs that will follow close behind: lovage, savory, chervil, and chives.”.If you want to save some for later, follow Deborah Madison's suggestions: “Working tarragon into herb butter or steeping branches in oil or vinegar is perhaps a better way to preserve its flavor, at least for a limited time.”.Once you're ready to starting using your fresh tarragon, strip the leaves (2, pictured far above) from the stalks (1, far above) and chop it up (3, above) as needed for your use.Add fresh tarragon to all sorts of egg dishes, from scrambled to deviled.Tarragon has quite a strong flavor, which plays ever so nicely with roasted, grilled, or gently braised vegetables (plus, plenty of olive oil and salt!).I’m craving these roasted baby turnips with a shallot-mustard vinaigrette; roasted asparagus with creamy lemon sauce and a poached egg; these Genius braised buttery whole scallions; and I’m sure you know that grilled artichokes need nothing else but a good aioli—this recipe is packed with tarragon.By the way, tarragon is just as powerful paired with vegetables in a creamy soup, like these soups for all seasons: asparagus and yogurt (spring into summer), garlicky zucchini (summer into fall), celery root and apple (fall into winter).leans into those anise-y flavors, while this lemony mushroom spaghetti and this garlicky, nutty fusilli number both pair the herb with asparagus.You could simply muddle a handful into your favorite highball, but if you want to start with a recipe, try a grapefruit-tarragon gin and tonic or a floral melon and white rum mojito.And since fruit desserts are clearly the way to let tarragon shine, why not fill the freezer with a batch of strawberry-tarragon ice pops while you’re at it. .


Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), also known as estragon, is a species of perennial herb in the family Asteraceae.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[9] 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.[8] 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%).[14] 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

Our goose has laid its first eggs against the barn, and in the herb garden’s raised beds the young tarragon leaves are just big enough to snip for the kitchen.sativa), which probably originated in western Asia, is the commonly grown temperate-zone tarragon used for culinary purposes.The stem was longer, the leaves were similar in shape but larger and coarser, and it had no flavor—like Russian tarragon.It is a marigold (Tagetes lucida), grown as an annual in temperate zones and as a perennial in hot climates.Russian tarragon is sometimes identified or mislabeled as French, so it’s a good idea to beg a leaf for tasting.In late winter or very early spring (March in the Pacific Northwest), we gently lift the oldest patches of plants with a garden fork (photos, below).Our friend Gery Prasing, a wholesale grower, used to propagate plants from stem cuttings.It will benefit from some winter protection in Zone 2, so lay down a 2- or 3-inch layer of straw or dead leaves.Mature plants should be watered every three days to encourage a continual supply of fresh leaves.Mature plants can survive for long periods without water, but under these conditions they will not grow new leaves.Although average to good garden soil is adequate for tarragon, we top-dress our beds with compost every winter.French tarragon is harder to grow in areas of high humidity where the dormant season is short.French tarragon appears to need a two-month dormancy period when the temperature drops close to freezing.Individual stems can be shortened and stripped of their leaves, but for a continuous supply through August and Sep­tem­ber, you must cut back about half your plants in late June, leaving the remaining half for harvesting while the cut ones regrow.It is better to preserve the leaves in vinegar or to chop and freeze tarragon in water in ice cube trays.Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat it dry inside and out with a paper towel.Put bay leaves and a handful of tarragon sprigs under the bird to flavor the pan drippings.Add extra water, wine, or stock if the liquid in the roasting pan dries up. .

Cooking with French Tarragon

French tarragon is also used on its own to enhance fruit and vegetable salads as well as dishes made with eggs, fish, and poultry.Tarragon, alone or with some of the companion herbs listed above, will add a fresh lively flavor to omelets, frittatas, and quiches, and also to basic scrambled eggs.Crush or bruise one cup of loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves and place them in a clean, sterilized jar.Pour the warm vinegar over the leaves, cover the jar tightly, and let the mixture steep at room temperature, shaking it every couple of days.When the tarragon’s flavor has permeated the vinegar, strain it into clean sterilized jars, and cover tightly.You can rub this on and pour it inside roast fowl, drizzle it over baked fish, fry eggs or vegetables in it, etc.Mix 2-6 T of fresh tarragon leaves, ½ t of lemon juice, and pepper to taste into one stick of butter.The Pleasure of Herbs, Phyllis Shaudys recommends quickly stir-frying grated carrots and parsnips along with tarragon in butter or salad oil.The Washington Post suggests an easy stirfry of salmon, cannellini, and assorted summer vegetables flavored with tarragon and lemon zest.Pat walleye fillets dry, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, press tarragon gently in, and pan-fry them briefly in butter.The simple sauce is made from melted butter, lemon juice, and zest, salt, white pepper, and chopped tarragon leaves.The University of Maine Cooperative Extension suggests broiling cod fillets with a tarragon-infused lemon-butter sauce.This basic recipe from the Texas Cooperative Extension adds a distinctive flavor to classic roast chicken.This richly flavored quick vegetarian meal calls for fresh tarragon and lemon zest topping a mixture of chard, leeks, and cream.This recipe from the Toronto Star makes a rich tarragon-flavored sauce which combines well with vegetables, beef, or fish.This Australian recipe features a sauce made with tarragon, cream, and wine poured over firm-fleshed fish, potatoes, and asparagus.The Washington Post offers a cold poached salmon recipe with an elaborate tarragon dressing.This tempting recipe from the website – A Thought for Food, calls for fresh tarragon leaves chopped over berries and sweetened ricotta cheese with lemon zest.This savory recipe from the Washington Post calls for topping peaches with a tart dressing featuring tarragon, lemon juice, and hot pepper. .

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