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Just because something is good for you doesn’t mean that it won’t be tasty. Various foods can be seasoned with fresh herbs to enhance their flavor and make them taste even better. Tarragon is one such herb, adding taste as well as health benefits to your cooking. It’s often used in dishes that feature eggs, chicken or fish because it tastes similar to licorice.

tarragon

The History behind Tarragon: Tarragon was first grown in Russia, and its name comes from the word “dracunculus,” which means “little dragon.” In fact, medieval people believed that tarragon could ward off snake and dragon bites. In the Middle Ages, tarragon found its way to Europe, where it first appeared in the house of Charlemagne.

There are two different primary types of tarragon: French and Russian. Russian tarragon is a hardy plant grown from seed, but it doesn’t have a strong aroma or taste. French tarragon possesses a strong scent and flavor, is not grown from seed, and is not as sturdy as its Russian cousin. Many people keep French tarragon in their kitchens due to the plant’s comparatively potent qualities. In all, there are actually more than 300 versions of tarragon, but the Russian and French types are the most widely used.

Health Benefits: Not only is tarragon a tasty herb but it also has been used for medicinal purposes throughout the centuries. Since the herb has numbing properties, the ancient Greeks used it to treat toothache pain. Later on, tarragon was used by Arabs to combat bad breath. It offers calming properties, helps ease indigestion, soothes the stomach, and encourages sleep. In addition, tarragon contains vitamin C, which is critical to overall health. Potassium and magnesium are two important minerals that are found in this herb. Tarragon hasn’t been found to interact with medications, so it’s generally considered very safe to use for easing various ailments and conditions.

Choosing Tarragon: When choosing fresh tarragon, it is always best to opt for a plant with healthy, colorful leaves and firm stems. Avoid anything that looks wilted or discolored. Keep the herb in a glass of water in the refrigerator. It can also be stored frozen in an ice cube tray covered with water. Tarragon is best eaten fresh or thawed. It loses a great deal of its aroma and flavor when it is dried.


Use Tarragon in Your Foods: Because of its licorice-like taste, tarragon works nicely with chicken, fish, egg dishes, lasagna, and tomato entrees. Tarragon also mixes well with other herbs and spices, and as such it is often used to flavor condiments like mustard and vinegar. In addition, tarragon is used in various sauces, such as béarnaise sauce.

Here’s a suggestion for how to use tarragon. The next time you plan to roast a chicken, gently slit the skin at the top of the breast of the bird. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, butter, and garlic. Add freshly picked tarragon leaves to the slit in the breast, and fold the skin back over. Once roasted, the chicken will offer immense flavor and an aromatic scent.

If chicken isn’t your favorite, mix tarragon with olive oil or butter and lemon and use it to baste fresh fish before and during grilling or sautéing. Chopped tarragon also adds a nice flavor to soups and sauces, as well as omelettes.

Final Thought: Now that you know a little bit about the benefits of tarragon, you should give it a try at your earliest convenience. You’ll find out what the ancient Greeks knew years ago: this herb is tasty, good for you and a simple way to spice up your favourite dishes.

Recipes with tarragon

Grilled NY Steak Béarnaise Sauce

Tarragon Vinegar

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