Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tarragon

French Tarragon
French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Mexican Tarragon (Tagetes lucida)


I noticed that the FrenchTarragon in our front garden has a little frost burn.  We have two types of Tarragon in the garden:- French Tarragon and Mexican Tarragon.  I didn't harvest these plants this year as they had not been planted for very long.  I have just been snipping off a few leaves now and then to use.

Planting
Tarragon, although a hardy perennial, can be frost tender and dislikes humidity.  Plant French Tarragon by cuttings or root division.  Likes soil between 10-25 degrees C.  Mexican Tarragon plant seeds in early spring.

Companion Planting
Likes capsicum and eggplant.

Mexican Tarragon

Harvest and Storage

Snip fresh sprigs as needed, beginning in spring. Before frost, harvest the stems by cutting them at the base and letting them air dry on a screen, or bundle a few together at the base to hang upside-down to dry.
For freezing, it is best to pick the leaves of French Tarragon in the mid-summer months.

Uses

Cooking
Mexican Tarragon can be substituted for French Tarragon in cooking.  Mexican Tarragon (also know as Winter Tarragon) has a more aniseed flavour.  Use with fish, pork, beef, poultry, game, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and most vegetables.  Tarragon is excellent in cream sauces, herb butters and vinegars, soups, sour creams, and yogurt. Use the flowers of Mexican tarragon fresh in salads or to colour rice dishes.

Herbal Medicine
French Tarragon -
Contains tannins, bitters, terpenes, flavonoids and coumarin, which may provide healing properties for the stomach and liver.  This may aid digestion and assist with toxin elimination
May act as a mild sedative.  Chewing on a few tarragon leaves will numb the mouth which may relieve toothache and other mouth pain.
Mexican Tarragon (Tagetes lucida) also known as Winter Tarragon, Spanish Tarragon and Mexican Mint Marigold. In Mexico, it is traditionally used as a tea to calm the stomach and relax the nerves.