Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculis) is a perennial herb cultivated for use of the leaves as an aromatic culinary herb. Tarragon is also know as "dragon wort". The varieties of tarragon include French tarragon, which is best for culinary use; Russian tarragon which is more robust, but inferior in flavor. Lastly, is wild tarragon which is inferior to Russian tarragon.
Tarragon is one of the four fine herbs of French cooking, along with parsley, chives, and chervil. It is particularly suited for chicken, fish, and egg dishes. Tarragon is the main flavoring component in Bearnaise sauce. Tarragon is thought to be originated in Central Asia, probably Siberia. Tarragon is found natively in a number of areas in the Northern Hemisphere. Tarragon has an aromatic property reminiscent of anise.
Tarragon is a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and the B complex group such as folates, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin and others that function as antioxidants and co-factors in metabolism. Tarragon is a notable excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper. potassium, and zinc.
Tarragon is one of the highest antioxidant food sources among common herbs. It is rich in numerous phytonutrients that are indispensable for optimum health. Scientific studies suggest that poly phenolic compounds in the herb help lower blood glucose levels . Laboratory studies show that compounds in tarragon extract inhibit platelet activation and adhesion to blood vessel walls preventing clot formation which can cause heart attack and stroke.
Tarragon herb has been used in traditional medicine for stimulating appetite and as a remedy for anorexia, dyspepsia, flatulence, and hiccups. The essential oil (eugenol) has been in use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and antiseptic for tooth ache complaints. Tarragon tea may help with insomnia.
Fresh field grown tarragon leaves are available during late spring and summer season. Hot house grown is available at other times. So, tarragon is available year round. Of course, dried tarragon is available year round as well.
Selecting ans Storing:
Fresh tarragon is one of the most perishable herbs. Look for fragrant leaves with unwilted green leaves and stems. Use immediately if possible. Wash leaves in clean running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Wrap in paper towel and store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator if necessary. Dried tarragon should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place where it will stay for up to 6 months.
So, ... Eat up! Enjoy! I'll show you how.........................
Culinary Uses for Tarragon:
- Use to flavor white wine vinegar
- Excellent in salad dressings, vinaigrette, and marinades
- Snip over fresh tomatoes or English peas
- Add to chicken, fish, eggs, and sauces