link to the Herb Companion post about Tarragon
more about French Tarragon
Thomas Jefferson tried to locate and grow Artemisia dracunculus sativa for years after his return from France. His appreciation of French cooking is reflected in this recipe:
Jefferson’s vinaigre d’estragon, one quart of partially dried tarragon leaves added to three pints of vinegar for one week. Then, the tarragon flavored vinegar was strained, bottled, and corked.
French Tarragon is prized as the best culinary variety, though you can not grow it from seed. Use cuttings or divisions or, buy a plant from a reputable source. When paired with chopped sprigs of fresh parsley, chives, and chervil, it is the traditional French culinary staple,fines herbs. This aromatic blend enhances the flavors of egg, chicken and fish dishes, and is also used as a basis for salad dressings. French tarragon can not thrive in Texas summers.
My Garden blogging friend Nancy in Texas grows Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida.) The plant grows in spring and summer, and produces many small yellow flowers that look like single marigold flowers. The plant is grown for it’s leaves, not the end-of-summer flowers. Mexican tarragon is a hot climate substitute for French tarragon’s anise flavor.
Mexican tarragon is also called Texas tarragon, false tarragon, winter tarragon or, Mexican mint marigold. If a seed company is offering tarragon seeds, it’s probably Russian tarragon which is not a good substitute in recipes.
I’ve received strong, healthy plants from these two companies:
- Nichols Garden Nursery, 1190 North Pacific Hwy, Albany, OR 97321, (541) 928-9280.
- Richters Herbs, 357 Highway 47, Goodwood, ON L0C 1A0 Canada, Tel. +1.905.640.6677 Fax. +1.905.640.6641
Make your own fines herbes. Use equal amounts of tarragon, chervil, chives, parsley. Finely chopped and added to a recipe near the end of cooking time.