What Is Tarragon?

Buying, Cooking, and Recipes

Tarragon

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Tarragon is a perennial, leafy green herb that is highly aromatic but has a subtle licorice-like flavor. 

What Is Tarragon?

This leafy herb is known for its skinny leaves and aromatic. While there are several kinds of tarragon, the most commonly used when cooking is the French variety. You’ll find tarragon on the ingredient list for many French dishes, including Bearnaise sauce. 

Tarragon comes fresh or as a dried spice. 

How to Prepare Tarragon

If you purchased dried tarragon, there isn’t anything else you need to do to start cooking with it. If you’re growing your own, however, you’ll want to snip the leaves and steams. Be careful with the leaves as they easily bruise. Fresh tarragon can be rinsed and patted dry before use. If you’re drying the fresh tarragon, either dry it slowly in an oven on warm (no hotter than 200 degrees Fahrenheit or use a dehydrator.  

What Does It Taste Like?

Tarragon is one of those spices people tend to either love or hate. It has a similar taste to licorice. 

Varieties

While French tarragon is the most common, there are several varieties of tarragon, including Mexican tarragon and Russian tarragon. Mexican mint tarragon has a flavor very similar to the French tarragon, although slightly richer in flavor. It has small golden flowers. While Russian tarragon looks very similar to French tarragon but its taste is more bitter. It’s used most commonly to flavor drinks. 

Tarragon Recipes

You’ll find tarragon on the ingredient list for many French-inspired dishes that use fish, chicken, even eggs and cheese, but it’s also easy to incorporate the herb into almost any type of dish.

Where to Buy Tarragon

You can find dried tarragon in the spice aisle of most supermarkets. It’s also widely available online from retailers, including Amazon, Target and more. Fresh tarragon is a little trickier to find. Depending on your supermarket, it might be available with the other packaged fresh herbs in the produce section. You also might spot it at your local farmers market in the spring and summer. It’s also possible to find potted tarragon from gardening supply stores or even online from sellers on Etsy. 

Storage

Rinse and pat dry fresh tarragon. Then wrap it in a damp paper towel and place it in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll last for about two weeks in the refrigerator. You can also freeze fresh tarragon for up to five months.

Dried tarragon will keep for up to a year if you store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Nutrition and Benefits of Tarragon

Tarragon is low in calories. It contains several nutrients, including manganese, iron, and potassium which are beneficial to our health but tarragon is typically used in small amounts it’s unknown how much nutritional benefit there is from it.