Tarragon Estragon: garden spices

We present an aromatic herb with a strong and particular flavor, ideal to grow in the home garden to have some spices always available in the kitchen and change the flavor of our recipes a little.

Tarragon is an aromatic plant also cultivated in Italy, especially in Tuscany and in the north, its scientific name is Artemisia dracunculus but it is also known as tarragon estragon. It is a perennial herb of the composite family, it has bushes of thin leaves with an elongated shape and rhizome roots. It blooms in summer and forms small seeds, not always functional for reproduction, which is generally preferred by cutting. It reaches up to 80 cm in height and the leaves are used as an aromatic spice.

The climate, the soil and the sowing of the tarragon

Climate. The ideal location for tarragon bushes is sunny and sheltered areas from the wind. It prefers temperate climates and fears both intense frosts (which inhibit flowering) and too much heat. It loves fertile soils with good drainage but also adapts to less rich lands, the important thing is that it is not too compact.

Sowing. Propagation by seed can be carried out both in spring and in autumn, but the seeds are often not fertile, so it is better to replicate the culture by rhizome or by cuttings. As for the distances to be kept in the garden, 40/50 cm are left between each head because this aromatic herb has particularly branched roots to which it is necessary to leave space. The transplant is to be carried out in late spring, between April and May, it is necessary to work the soil in-depth for it to take root successfully.

Cultivate the tarragon

Even if the plant is a perennial it is recommended to grow it for three or four years, then rotate it. Pruning is carried out before winter, while if winter is cold it is better to cover the plant with a mulch of leaves or straw so that it does not suffer from frosts too much.

There is no need to water a lot, only in the presence of prolonged drought, especially during the flowering of the plant, which occurs between July and September.

There are not many phytosanitary problems of this very rustic and resistant aromatic herb, the tarragon can be attacked by rust, a cryptogamic disease that can be identified on the leaves, while insects and parasites do not give much trouble.

Collect and store the spice

Tarragon is used by picking leaves and inflorescences, which can be eaten fresh as well as dried and can be harvested from spring to the end of summer. You shouldn’t overdo it and always leave at least half of the leaves on the plant so as not to weaken the head too much.

The drying of the leaves can take place in a cool and dry place, preferably in the shade. They keep very well in a glass jar. Leaves eaten fresh are much tastier and tastier than dried tarragon.

This aromatic plant can also be grown for seeds, in this case, the whole plant is generally harvested when it reaches full flowering.

Properties and use of tarragon estragon

Tarragon is an excellent spice in the kitchen, it is used to flavor meats, fish, and cheeses in both fresh and dried versions, fresh tarragon is spicier and tastier and also goes great in salads. Two original ideas on how to use tarragon in the kitchen: it can be frozen in ice cubes to flavor refreshing drinks and tarragon flavored vinegar is delicious.

There are several cultivated varieties of tarragon, the most famous are the French tarragon, with a more intense aroma, the German tarragon, and the Russian tarragon which is a cultivar more resistant to harsh winters although less aromatic in flavor.

The therapeutic properties of this herb are mainly digestive: tarragon increases the production of gastric juices, relieves constipation and bloating.

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