Did you know that Tarragon was once thought to cure hiccups, snake venom and induce abortions? Not that we’re looking to induce anything, but Tarragon comes from the Middle East where it grew near streams and rivers, spread through Europe and parts of North America. Tarragon’s botanical name, dracunculus means ‘small dragon’ due to its narrow thin leaves that remind some of dragons’ tongues.
Interestingly enough, this herb has two varieties: Russian and French. The French type is much preferred based on its rich, distinct and strong fragrance that is essential for bernaise sauces and ravigote dressings.
What to look for:
The plant can grow to 2 ft in height by the end of summer and will bud small light green flowers early in the summer.
How Mother Nature loves it:
Tarragon grows in spires with narrow green leaves. This plant prefers dry soil and plenty of sunshine. Unfortunately, if the weather is too hot it also won’t flower. The best tasting Tarragon plans are those with a slight aniseed fragrance. They are best planted in the spring or early autumn when the weather has warmed up.
How to use it:
The best parts to use are the young leaves that grow before the plant starts to bud flowers. You can keep them at room temperature, but be sure to dry them as soon as possible so that you don’t lose the flavor. Alternatively, you can grow them every year to make sure that you have fresh herbs available to your finger tips since Tarragon has a tendency to lose its flavor as it gets old.