In my humble opinion, tarragon is one of the under used herbs.

fresh and dried tarragon

What is tarragon?

Tarragon is a wispy, leafy green herb that is part of the sunflower family and is used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It is seen heavily in French cuisine, but also in American and other European dishes. Tarragon also goes by estragon.

Tarragon is full of flavor and very aromatic.

What Does Tarragon Taste Like?

The best way to describe it is licorice, although others will also claim anise and sweet.

I will say, I am not a fan of black licorice, however I do like tarragon, so don’t rule it out.

It is important to note that tarragone does change flavor profiles from raw to cooked and also to dried. Therefore, if a recipe calls for dried or fresh tarragon, it isn’t advised to substitute one for the other.

Tarragon is also best added at the end of cooking. Cooking for too long will result in a bitter taste. Unless, of course, that is the objective like in my Olive and Orange Chicken.

Substitutes for Fresh Tarragon

Fresh chervil or fennel fronds are the most recommended. After is a pinch of ground fennel seed or anise seed for each tablespoon of fresh tarragon.

Substitutes for Dried Tarragon

Ground fennel seed or anise seed are the top picks for dried tarragon too. You can also use fines herbes, a French herb blend.

How to Use Tarragon

Tarragon is great in brines and marinades. Also use it sparingly in salads and cream based sauces. It is one of the most important ingredients in French Bearnaise sauce. Dried tarragon can also be used in spice rubs and salad dressings.
It changes flavor as it cooks, so know what and how to use it and when to add it. Pair it with chicken, fish and other produce.

How to Counteract Too Much Tarragon

Due to the very distinct and profound flavor, adding too much can ruin a dish. If you feel like you might have done this, try one of these solutions.
  • Dilute the dish with other ingredients. It is as simple as changing the ratio mix.
  • Add dairy. Cream, milk or butter will help cover up the intense flavor.
  • Add tomatoes or citrus. Anything highly acidic, like tomatoes or citrus will help to balance the flavors.
  • Sugar. Use sparingly, but add a small amount of sugar if tarragon is bitter.
  • Red wine and vinegar. These are also highly acidic and will help to overpower.

Tarragon For Medicinal Reasons

Tarragon is also used for holistic medicine. It has been linked to:

  • treating digestive problems
  • increasing appetite
  • reducing water retention
  • healthy sleep
  • reducing menstrual cramps

Let us know your favorite way to enjoy tarragon!



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