advertisement



Cooking & Recipes


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Cooking With Spices: Tarragon

cooking with spices tarragon

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is a perennial herb from the Asteraceae family. It is known for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal uses. There are different varieties, but the best known are French tarragon, which is preferred by many for culinary use; Russian tarragon, which is not as flavorful, has a bitter edge, and is hardier (it is also used in craft making); Spanish tarragon which is similar in flavor to the French variety, but with a stronger hint of anise; and so-called "wild tarragon" which is cultivated and widely available worldwide.

Native to regions in the northern hemisphere, tarragon is a slender plant with lance-shaped, shiny green leaves. The history of tarragon includes mentions in medieval writings as a medicinal agent, and ancient Greeks may have chewed tarragon leaves to address toothaches. In modern times, as a medicinal herb tarragon has been used orally to address digestive disorders, hiccups, toothaches, as an appetite stimulant, and as a diuretic. Herbalists recommend it for its "cooling" properties and as a way to address menopausal hot flashes. It is considered a traditional remedy in France for insomnia, learning disorders and hyperactivity.

As an aromatic, tarragon is added to fragrances, soaps and cosmetics.

For culinary use, tarragon is used to flavor foods and beverages. The flavor it imparts varies, but can be generally described as having hints of licorice, pine, mint and pepper. It is popular in France, where it is considered a fine herb in French cooking, and is the main flavoring component in Béarnaise sauce. In Armenia, Georgia and Russia, tarragon is added as a flavoring agent to carbonated soft drinks that are popular there.

Dr. Weil's take on tarragon:
When using tarragon, fresh is best - it imparts more flavor. Look for sprigs with bright green leaves, wrap in a loose, damp paper towel and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator; it should last for several days. Dried tarragon can be stored away from light and heat in a tightly sealed container for up to six months.

You can use fresh tarragon leaves as a garnish or in salads; to enhance the flavor of meats, vegetables and cheeses; and added to vinegar, mayonnaise or butter to enhance the flavor. It can also be used in tea and pastries for a taste that is similar to that of anise. When cooking with tarragon, add it at the last minute so the flavor does not become bitter.

Tarragon is an easy plant to grow, even for inexperienced gardeners. Tarragon aficionados claim that this hardy plant tastes even better when grown in adverse conditions such as poor soil or extremes of cold or heat.

Try using fresh tarragon in these healthy recipes:

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here