General Description: Tarragon is a small, perennial herb, in the sunflower family cultivated for the use of its aromatic leaves for seasonings. Two species are cultivated, Russian and French. Leaves of the French variety are glossier and more pungent. Most commercial Tarragon comes from dried leaves of the French Tarragon plant. French tarragon is the variety generally considered best for the kitchen, but cannot be grown from seed. Russian tarragon can be grown from seed but is much weaker in flavor.
Uses: Tarragon has a spicy flavor very similar of anise seasonings and it blends well with other spices. It is used in sauces, especially Bearnaise sauce and Tarragon Vinegar. In French cuisine it is an integral part of fines herbs and dijon mustard.
History: Tarragon, unlike many other herbs, was not used by ancient peoples. It was mentioned briefly in medieval writings as a pharmaceutical, but did not come into common use until the 16th century in England. It was brought to the Western Hemisphere in the early 19th century.
Origin: Tarragon is native to southern Russia and western Asia. Today, its primary producer is France and California.
Shelf Life: 1-3 years