Tarragon is a small herb used in cooking. It has smooth and long green coloured leaves. It also known as dragon's-wort meaning dragon-herb and Artemisia dracunculus is its biological name. The leaves are concentrated with flavour and hence are the most edible parts of the plant. Its flavour is somewhat similar to anise and licorice. Tarragon occurs in two varieties viz – French and Russian. Popular tarragon recipes include- Tarragon Soup, Tarragon Dressing, Shrimp With Tarragon, Mustard Tarragon Marinade and Braised Tarragon Chicken.
History of Tarragon
Tarragon originates from Western Asia and Southern Europe. It is believed to have been introduced to Europe by Mongols and Siberia during the 13th century. Tarragon was known as "dragon-heart" in Far-East due to its root system. It was used as a cure for snake bites.
Culinary Uses of the Tarragon
Tarragon recipes include the herb It often paired with chopped leaves of fresh parsley, chives and chervil. In France a traditional seasoning blend known as fines herbs is prepared incorporating many herbs including tarragon. This aromatic blend is used to enhance the flavours of egg, chicken and fish dishes. Other tarragon recipes include salad dressings and Béarnaise sauce. It is always better to add tarragon to cooked dishes, at the end, as application of heat causes loss of its flavour.
Popular Tarragon Recipes
The recipe for Tarragon Soup is one of the most popular appetizer Tarragon recipes.
The recipe for Tarragon Dressing is one of the palatable Tarragon recipes used for making salad dressings.
Shrimp With Tarragon is a delicious seafood tarragon recipe.
Mustard Tarragon Marinade and Braised Tarragon Chicken is a delightful Tarragon recipe involving chicken.
Cuisines Using Tarragon
Many tarragon recipes of Classic French sauces such as barnaise, rigavote and tartare include this herb which is also popular as the "King of Herbs" in French cuisine as the main flavoring . Tarragon is one of the four herbs in “fines herbes” in French cooking which is particularly suitable for chicken, lasagna, fish and egg based dishes. Tarragon is also used for flavouring vinegar and for making pickles in ethnic cuisines. In Slovenia, tarragon is used as a spice for sweet pastry called potica.
Nutritive Value of Tarragon
Tarragon recipes are nutritionally worthy as the leaves of the tarragon a great source of iodine, mineral salts and vitamins A and C. Long ago tarragon was used to prevent scurvy. It is also suggested as an appetite stimulant and digestive tonic by naturalists. It is a great source of iron, calcium and manganese.
Tarragon contains slight traces of iron, calcium and manganese.
Tarragon Buying/Storing Tips
Tarragon recipes are known for their flavorfulness and the herb is preserved of its flavours to the optimum levels during storage, by freezing them as whole sprigs in an airtight bag for 3 to 5 months. Dried tarragon must be placed in a sealed container and kept in a cool, dark place and used within 1 year.
Vinegar may also be used to store fresh tarragon sprigs. The tarragon immersed in vinegar must be stored in the refrigerator. The herb must be rinsed and pat dried before being used. Preserved tarragon is included in a number of tarragon recipes such as those forlike sauces, butters or any recipe where fresh is not required.
Non- Food Uses Tarragon
Tarragon can be used to protect other useful plants by intercropping as its scent and taste is detested by many garden. It is also known as a nurse plant, promoting the growth and flavour of companion crops.
Tarragon contains a desensitizing compound called eugenol, making it a nice natural remedy for minor pain-related symptoms such as toothache or sore gums.