With its Anise-Like Flavor, Tarragon is Almost Synonymous with French Cooking.
Tarragon
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The herb Tarragon, (Artemisia dracunculus), is almost synonymous with French cooking. It is a member of the lettuce family and is closely related to anise, and like anise has a somewhat licorice-like taste.

Tarragon is one of the four herbs in the classic French herb mixture Fines Herbes, the others being ParsleyChives and Chervil.

Season

Tarragon is best in the Winter.

Availability

Tarragon is available all year long.

Cultivation

It has long thin leaves on wire-like stems that tend to grow every which way but up, making for a tangled-looking, ground hugging plant. If straightened, the stems can actually be 3-4 feet long.

As noted, French Tarragon can be difficult to grow. It likes a lot of sun and a touch of shade. It doesn’t like to be over watered. As long as a pot has good drainage, it can grow as well indoors as out.

Production

Varieties

There are three main types of tarragon, French TarragonRussian (wild) Tarragon, and Mexican (winter) Tarragon.

Purchasing

Buyer beware: fresh Tarragon can be hard to find and sometimes fresh French Tarragon is swapped on grocery shelves with Russian Tarragon or Mexican Tarragon without any acknowledgment of the change. This doesn’t mean you can’t use Russian and Mexican tarragon, but their taste is slightly different, and you will need more of either to equal the flavor of the French Tarragon.

When buying fresh Tarragon, the leaves should be dark green with no yellow or brown spots. Dried Tarragon leaves will be more faded, but should still retain a little green color.

Storage

Fresh Tarragon will last about a week refrigerated. It can also be wrapped in foil and plastic and kept frozen for several months, with little loss of flavor.

Culinary Uses

The general rule when using Tarragon is to use the leaves and uppermost tender parts of the stems and add them at the end of preparation for best flavor. Tarragon has a strong, definite taste and must be used carefully when balancing with other herbs and spices. It is a lovely with ChickenVeal, game, Fish or Eggs and is often used to flavor Vinegars and salad dressings. And most importantly, you cannot make Béarnaise Sauce without it.

Portion Size

Allow 1-2 t of Tarragon per recipe.

Substitutes

Anise, Fennel Seed

Nutritional Value

Nutritional Value USDA
SPICES,TARRAGON,DRIED
Amount Per 100g
Calories 295
%Daily Value*
 
10%
Total Fat 7g
0%
Saturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
2%
Sodium 62mg
64%
Potassium 3020mg
16%
Total Carbohydrate 50g
28%
Dietary Fiber 7g
Sugars 0g
Protein 22g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Nutrition

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes