Growing mainly in tropical regions, tarragon originates from Central Asia. Its scientific name is Artemisia Dracunculus L. and it belongs to the Asteraceae family. This herb is often nicknamed ‘dragon herb’, ‘pungent mugwort’ or ‘serpentine’.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans used it to treat snake bites. Tarragon spread across Europe in the Middle Ages because of its various properties. It was not used in France until the early 16th century, when it was grown by monks.
It is a hardy plant characterised by its many branched stems, adorned with narrow, smooth and shiny leaves. Tarragon is easy to distinguish from other herb leaves because of its dark green colour, which lightens in winter.
Tarragon grows best in fresh, humus-rich soils and the plant measures from 40cm to 1.40m. The best places to grow this herb are warm sunny or partly-shaded spots. Tarragon blooms in the summer and is harvested from June to late October.
Tarragon is a herb with a peppery and liquorice taste. It is used sparingly. Tarragon can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It is very popular in French, Armenian and American cuisine.
It adds great flavour to mayonnaise, Béarnaise sauce, fresh butter and vinaigrettes. Tarragon goes very well with lemon for fish fillets and can also be used in many everyday dishes.
It goes very well with basil, mint, fenugreek, cinnamon and anise.