History of Tarragon
Tarragon leaves have a sweet flavour similar to anise or liquorice. Its flavour loses its potency if dried, but it may be preserved in vinegar to create an appetizing condiment. Among herbs, tarragon is relatively recent, having been grown in cultivation only in the last five hundred years.
Tarragon is believed to have originated in southern Russia and Siberia, and was introduced to Europe by the Tudor family who planted it in their gardens. Tarragon is not known to seed, and must be propagated through root and stem cuttings.
Tarragon in Cooking
In French culinary tradition, tarragon is the predominant flavour in béarnaise sauce. Tarragon also blends well with other spices and herbs including chervil, parsley and chives. Tarragon also complements fish (especially shellfish), chicken, egg, soup and grilled meats.
Health Benefits of Tarragon
The ancient Greeks used tarragon as a treatment for tooth-ache, and it is now known that tarragon gets its pain-killing properties from the natural anaesthetic eugenol.
The physicians of the medieval times believed that a plant’s medicinal purpose could be gleaned from its physical appearance, and hence tarragon was prescribed for treating venomous snake bites. Tea made with tarragon and chamomile may be used by insomnia sufferers to promote relaxation and sleep.
Tarragon is also believed to stimulate appetite and relieve indigestion.
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