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Information for Tarragon
A perennial herb belonging to the Asteraceae, tarragon or Artemisia Dracunculus is native to North America, far eastern Europe, East Asia, India and Mexico. Also known as dragon herb, tarragon grows to be about 50" (127 cm) in height. It is characterized by slender branched stems that are covered with glossy, broad, grey-green leaves about 3/4" to 3" (2 to 8 cm) long. Blooms are about 1/16" to 1/8" (2 to 4 mm) in diameter and greenish-yellow in color. However, the French variety seldom has blooms.
Tarragon is aromatic, and carries a scent that is similar to anise. In terms of flavor, it has a taste that can be likened to fennel, anise and licorice. It may also have some sweet undertones. Russian tarragon varieties may carry a slightly bitter taste along with it. French tarragon is often the preferred variety for culinary use due to the absence of bitterness. Dried tarragon leaves have a weaker aroma compared to fresh leaves.
Considered to be one of the four fine herbs in French cooking, it is the primary flavoring component for Béarnaise sauce. Tarragon mixes very well with seafood such as lobster and shellfish, poultry, fish, veal, rabbit, potatoes, carrots, artichokes, eggs, onions and many other things.
Photo Credit: Kathleen Farley