Although native to Siberia and Western Asia, tarragon is most at home in French cooking where it’s an essential ingredient in béarnaise sauce and a delicious addition to chicken, egg, and fish dishes.
Its narrow, tapering leaves give a liquorice and vanilla flavour to dishes. Tarragon likes to be the star of a dish, and can overshadow other flavours if used to excess. It’s often preserved in vinegar, which takes on the unique flavour of the tarragon, making it perfect for special salad dressings or homemade mustard.
Tarragon is a great source of vitamins A and C as well as important minerals like calcium, iron, and manganese. In fact, its high vitamin C levels led to it being used for scurvy prevention. (What’s a pirate’s favourite herb?…T-arrrr-agon!) Try our Crispy French Tarragon Chicken to satisfy your taste buds and get your daily dose!
Unusually, and unlike most plants, tarragon is not grown through seeds. It produces lovely yellow flowers but most don’t contain any seeds. The few that do produce sterile seeds that can’t germinate. Instead, new plants come from rhizome (the underground horizontal stem) sprouts or root cuttings.
Tarragon comes from the Persian word “turkhum” which means “little dragon.” It’s thought to be named this because of its root system, which is snakelike and full of intense flavour. Tarragon is still occasionally called “dragon wort” today, but unlike dragons it can’t handle the heat, so add it towards the end of cooking to make sure its flavour stay intact!
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