Tarragon is particularly popular in French cuisine. The delicate aromatic plant gives the »sauce béarnaise« and the French vinaigrette for the salad an unmistakable taste. It should not be missing in the famous herb mix »Fine Herbes«.
For a spicy tarragon vinegar, the freshly cut spice comes in dilute vinegar, which is stripped after two months of steeping and filled into bottles. If you refine fish, chicken and vegetables with tarragon, you can cook the spice for longer. Cooking will smell, but not taste. Only the dose is important because its aroma can quickly become dominant. Tarragon is also known as a medicinal plant: the herb is said to stimulate appetite, promote digestion and have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) belongs botanically to the daisy family. The herb of several years with the narrow, long leaves grows bushy and, depending on the variety, reaches a height of 40 to 120 centimeters. The plant is believed to be native to Siberia and from there to South Asia and southern Europe. It was not until the 17th century that French court chefs discovered it for fine cuisine. In general, two varieties are distinguished: The "Russian tarragon" is the original form and tastes a bit bitter and not as intense as the "French tarragon". This is mainly due to the fact that the main aroma component, the estragole and various flavonoids are missing. The "French tarragon" is the best choice for the kitchen. It convinces with its fine-spicy, somewhat sweet aroma, which reminds a little of anise and cinnamon.
The herb can also be planted in the garden. While the Russian tarragon is very robust, the French herb has higher demands. It needs a lot of sun, sufficient moisture, a sheltered location and a lot of space. The young and delicate leaf shoots are harvested before flowering because they are particularly aromatic at this point. The herb is commercially available fresh in a pot or as a bundle, but is also deep-frozen and dried. Heike Kreutz, bzfe.de