Tarragon Cooking Tips: Learn how to cook with fresh or dried tarragon, plus make tarragon vinegar.

Tarragon Cooking Tips

 

These tarragon cooking tips will help you make the most of this amazing herb, whether using the fresh or dried version.

• When tarragon is dried, the oils dissipate. Thus, fresh tarragon has a much more intense flavor than dried, and should be used sparingly.

• To retain the most flavor of fresh tarragon during storage, freeze whole sprigs in an airtight baggie for 3 to 5 months. No need to defrost before using.

• Dried tarragon should be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dark place and used within 1 year.

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• Heat greatly intensifies the flavor of tarragon, both fresh and dried.

• Tarragon vinegar is easy to make. Put fresh tarragon sprigs into a sterilized bottle of distilled white vinegar. Taste after a few days. Continue steeping until it suits your taste. Once desired strength is achieved, remove the sprigs.

• Vinegar can also be used to preserve fresh tarragon sprigs. Store in the refrigerator. Rinse and pat dry before use. Use the preserved tarragon in sauces, butters, or any recipe where fresh is not required.

• Tarragon is also a good herb to use in infused oils.

• Tarragon is a prime ingredient in Bernaise Sauce and the French favorite herb mixture, fines herbes.

• If you run out of tarragon, you can substitute chervil or a dash of fennel seed or anise seed in a pinch, but the flavor will not be as intended.

• 1/2 ounce fresh tarragon = 1/3 cup.

• 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon = 1 teaspoon dried.

History of Tarragon

Tarragon, botanically-known as Artemisia dracunculus, is believed to have been brought to Europe from Mongolia and Siberia by invading Mongols in the 13th century. Although it was native to these remote Chinese and Russian areas, perhaps its remote birthplace contributes to its lack of popularity prior to this time. By the 15th century, it was popular enough in England to make its way to American shores with the colonists.

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In the Far East, true tarragon was known as “little dragon,” a reference to its root system. It was thought to cure snakebites and other venomous bites. The herb was cooked and eaten as a vegetable centuries ago. Home gardeners with tarragon plants will know that if not divided regularly, tarragon will actually strangle itself.

Oddly enough, true tarragon is generally sold as French tarragon. In the United States, False or Russian tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides) is regularly sold as tarragon, but it pales in taste and aroma in comparison to true tarragon.

French tarragon has a glossy narrow, spear-shaped leaf with smooth edges. Russian tarragon looks very similar, but the leaves are more narrow and spiky and the flavor is more bitter.

Tarragon Cooking Tips Photo ©2023 Peggy Filippone

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Tarragon Cooking Tips
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Tarragon Cooking Tips
Description
arragon cooking tips, history, and substitutions. Learn how to cook with the tarragon herb, how to store it, plus make tarragon vinegar.
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Peg's Home Cooking

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