Tarragon is an herb plant profoundly known for its medicinal and culinary uses. It is an edible leafy green plant with a strong aromatic property. This makes it an easy-to-use ingredient in various cuisines. It is an important herb in French cuisines and is often confused with another plant called mugwort. It is also known as estragon or dragon herb.
In France, tarragon is referred to as the king of herbs. This is because it can improve the taste of dishes. Tarragon herb is one of the essential ingredients in the French mixture known as fines herbes. There are several varieties of the tarragon plant. While the french variety is the most common, we have the Spanish, Mexican, and Russian variety of the herb.
What does tarragon taste like? Tarragon has a distinct taste of bitterness and sweetness depending on the variety. The French variety has a slightly sweet and tingly flavor of vanilla, citrus, and licorice. Russian tarragon when added to dishes has a more bitter and harsh taste than the french variety.
With a hint of anise, Mexican tarragon has a taste similar to that of the french variety. Generally, tarragon has a distinctive aroma of licorice, mint, celery, and anise. Its leaves are mildly soft which promotes its ease of use as medicine and food. Tarragon in its dried form has a taste and flavor similar to that of dill.
The herb plant can easily blend with various ingredients to provide a spectacular and palate-pleasing taste. The medicinal power of the plant allows people to refer to it as a superpower herb.
Nutritional Benefits of Tarragon
Just like the sunflower plant, the tarragon herb is prized for fragrance, flavoring, and health benefits. It is low in carbohydrates and calories. 2 grams serving of dried tarragon herb provides the body with 7% of the daily required intake of manganese. This plays an important role in improving brain health, enhancing the body’s metabolic process, and reducing oxidative stress in the body.
Tarragon contains a substantial amount of iron, which provides the body with energy to go about daily activities, helps keep the mind focused, hasten gastrointestinal processes, and helps regulate body temperature. The iron content in the herb plant also helps strengthen the body’s immune system against chronic diseases like anemia.
Type-2 diabetes and heart diseases are associated with cells in muscles, bones, and liver becoming resistant to insulin and unhealthy sleeping patterns. Tarragon provides glucose useful in improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing blood sugar level. It also aids the body in relaxing and combating insomnia naturally.
For a very long time, tarragon has been used to treat pain. Recent research showed that Arthrem, a food supplement with a high quantity of tarragon herb, helps in easing pain associated with osteoarthritis.
The herb plant has antibacterial properties. Natural additives like tarragon oil are being used rather than synthetic chemicals to help preserve food. Tarragon oil can effectively suppress the power of staphylococcus aureus and E. Coli responsible for food spoilage and foodborne illness.
Culinary Uses of Tarragon
Tarragon has a nice, strong flavor that blends well with different types of vegetables. Tarragon can be added with olive oil and salt to roasted, grilled, or mildly braised vegetables. It also pairs well with vegetables in creamy soups like asparagus and yogurt soup, garlicky zucchini, and celery roots in apple soup.
Breakfast can be boosted with the addition of tarragon powder. Add it to various egg dishes from scrambled to deviled eggs. If you’re skeptical about the taste of tarragon in dishes, try it first in potato dishes like potato salad with pork meat and pea. Your palate would be wanting more after the first bite.
Use tarragon powder with a variety of fish. Smoke or carefully grill tuna, salmon, or snapper and lather it with tarragon to boost its taste. You can also use it in preparing dipping sauce for fish sticks. Try the fresh herbs as a sauce with various poultry dishes like chicken pot pie, chicken salad, and duck soup.
Extracting juice from the tarragon plant to make bright and citrus-flavored cocktails or mocktails is an excellent way to add the plant to our diet. Mix a grapefruit tonic or gin with tarragon extract.
Where Did Tarragon Originate From? How Do You Procure it?
Tarragon is a perennial plant in the sunflower family and has been cultivated for over 600 years. It is believed to have been native to some particular regions in Siberia and Mongolia due to their soil conditions.
Owing to the increasing demand for the aromatic herb, it is being grown in North America, South Europe, India, and Chima. The plant has varying species based on the different regions it was grown.
Using tarragon in dishes has been a normal practice in England since the 16th century but the plant gained its popularity in the United States in the 19th Century. Tarragon can be purchased both fresh and dried all year round in grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
To choose the best tarragon herb, pick out a fresh-looking one with no discoloration or wilting. Before you proceed with using the herb to cook, wash it thoroughly in clean water.
You can preserve the herb plant for future usage. All you have to do is store the fresh plant in a plastic bag to allow It to retain moisture and place it in a freezer. Dried tarragon can be poured into an airtight container and stored in a cool, dark environment.
Are Tarragon and Thyme Similar?
No, they are not. Although, they can be used interchangeably in dishes that contain fish and chicken. Tarragon is considered to have a similar flavor with thyme but they have varying textures.
Facts You Didn’t Know About Tarragon
- The French variant of the plant popularly used in the kitchen is not grown from seed because of its sterility, while the Russian variant is grown from seed.
- The leaf of this perennial plant is the main flavoring agent in Central Asian and Russian drinks known as Tarhun.
- Tarragon can be grown up to 35-60 inches in height and has slender, branched stems.