What is Tarragon: Taste, uses, & Nutrition

Tarragon is a perennial herb with a subtle anise or licorice-like flavor. It is commonly used in French cuisine and is a good source of nutrients.

Tarragon and lemons

Lemons and Tarragon: Source: Barbara Coughlin

Are you curious about the unique flavor of tarragon? Do you want to know what makes this herb a popular ingredient in many cuisines worldwide? Look no further! Tarragon is a delicate herb with a slightly sweet and licorice-like taste, which adds depth and complexity to any dish. Whether you’re seasoning roasted chicken, making a fresh herb vinaigrette, or whipping up a creamy béarnaise sauce, tarragon can elevate the flavors in a truly delicious way. So why not try it and experience the excellent taste of tarragon for yourself?

What is Tarragon

Tarragon is a perennial herb that belongs to the sunflower family. It is native to Siberia and western Asia and has been used in cooking for centuries. Its well known for its distinct anise-like flavor, which is why it is a popular ingredient in French cuisine.

This herb can be used fresh or dried, and its leaves are often used to add flavor to soups, stews, salads, sauces, and dressings. It is also used to flavor vinegar, mustard, and other condiments. It pairs well with many ingredients, including chicken, fish, vegetables, and eggs.

Besides its culinary uses, tarragon has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties. It contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

Some studies have also suggested that this herb may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels and digestion.

Overall, it’s a flavorful and versatile herb that can enhance the taste and nutrition of many dishes.

Botanical NameCommon NameOriginFlavor ProfileCulinary Uses
Artemisia dracunculusTarragonEurasiaSubtle anise or licorice-like flavor with a slightly sweet and bitter tasteWidely used in French cuisine, particularly in sauces, dressings, and marinades. Also used in salads, soups, and

Taste of Tarragon

Tarragon has a unique and distinct flavor that is often described as slightly sweet and reminiscent of licorice or anise.

It has a delicate and subtle taste, which can be easily overpowered by other stronger flavors. The flavor can vary depending on whether it is used fresh or dried.

Fresh tarragon has a more pronounced flavor than dried, which can sometimes have a bitter aftertaste.

Tarragon is a popular herb in French cuisine and is used to add flavor to sauces, dressings, and other dishes.

Fresh vs dried

The main difference between fresh and dried tarragon is the intensity of flavor. When fresh it has a more pronounced and intense flavor than dried, which has a more subtle and muted flavor.

This is because the drying process causes some of the essential oils and flavor compounds to evaporate.

When using fresh tarragon in a recipe, adding it towards the end of the cooking process is best to prevent the delicate leaves from becoming too wilted or bitter.

Fresh is also great for garnishing dishes, such as adding a few sprigs to a salad or soup.

On the other hand, when dried it is more convenient for everyday use and has a longer shelf life than when fresh.

In addition, it can be added directly to recipes without the need for washing, chopping, or measuring. As a result, dried tarragon is commonly used in sauces, marinades, and dressings.

Generally, it’s best to use fresh tarragon when you want a more pronounced flavor and dried tarragon when you want a milder flavor or when fresh is unavailable.

However, remember that tarragon’s flavor can vary depending on the specific variety and growing conditions, so it’s always a good idea to taste a small amount of tarragon before using it in a recipe.

nutrional value

Total Fat7.4 g
Saturated Fat1.5 g
Trans Fat0 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Sodium20 mg
Total Carbohydrates50.2 g
Dietary Fiber7.4 g
Sugar0 g
Protein22.8 g
Vitamin A62%
Vitamin C112%

Please note that the nutritional values may vary depending on the specific type of tarragon and the preparation method. This chart is meant to provide a general idea of the nutritional value of tarragon.

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Tarragon uses

Tarragon on table: Source: Tamar Mirianashvili

Tarragon is a versatile herb used in various dishes and cuisines. Here are some popular culinary uses for this herb in cooking:

  • Sauces and dressings: It is a crucial ingredient in classic French sauces such as béarnaise and hollandaise. It is also commonly used to flavor salad dressings, mayonnaise, and vinaigrettes.
  • Poultry and seafood dishes: It pairs well with chicken, turkey, and fish. It can be used to flavor roasted or grilled poultry and fish dishes.
  • Vegetables: It can flavor green beans, carrots, and mushrooms. It is also a great addition to vegetable soups and stews.
  • Eggs: It is often used to flavor egg dishes such as omelets, quiches, and frittatas.
  • Bread and pastry: It can add flavor to bread dough or pastry fillings.
  • Marinades: It can flavor marinades for meats, poultry, and fish.
  • Herbal teas: Tarragon can make a flavorful and aromatic herbal tea.

Overall, it is a versatile herb that can add a unique and subtle flavor to many dishes. Its delicate flavor pairs well with various ingredients and is a popular choice in many cuisines.

Where to get

Fresh tarragon can be found in the produce section of many grocery stores and supermarkets. It is often sold in small bunches or clamshells. You can also find this herb at farmer’s markets or specialty food stores.

Dried tarragon is also widely available and can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores. Again, look for a reputable brand and check the expiration date before purchasing to ensure freshness.
If you can access a garden, you can also grow your own.

Tarragon is a hardy perennial herb that is relatively easy to grow. It prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil. Tarragon can be grown from seeds or purchased as young plants at a nursery or garden center.

Storing methods

Storing properly ensures it stays fresh and flavorful for as long as possible.

  • Fresh: To store fresh tarragon, rinse it thoroughly and pat it dry with a paper towel. Wrap the herb in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag or container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also store fresh in the freezer by chopping it and placing it in an ice cube tray with water or olive oil. Once frozen, the tarragon cubes can be stored in a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.
  • Dried tarragon: When dried it should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or spice cabinet. Dried can last for up to a year if stored properly.

It’s important to note that it can lose its flavor over time, especially if it is not stored correctly. Therefore, always check the expiration date before using it in a recipe, and discard any fresh tarragon that has wilted or turned brown.

Common questions

Is tarragon easy to grow? It is relatively easy to grow if planted in well-drained soil and receives plenty of sunlight. It is also a perennial herb, which means it will continue to grow year after year.

What are some health benefits of tarragon? It is believed to have several health benefits, including promoting digestion, reducing inflammation, and improving heart health. It is also rich in antioxidants and may help to boost the immune system.

Can tarragon be used in desserts? While most commonly used in savory dishes, it can also be used in desserts, particularly fruity or citrus. For example, it can be added to fruit salads or used to flavor sorbet or ice cream.

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