Tarragon: properties, uses in the kitchen and as a natural remedy

The Tarragon is a ‘ herb that is used in cooking for its distinctive flavor, but it is also an interesting natural remedy. We know better this plant and its properties .

The tarragon ( tarragon ) is a perennial plant of the family Asteraceae originating in Russia and Siberia. It is also known as estragon or with other popular names such as serpentaria , dragone and tragone.

The plant is characterized by having bright green leaves , thin and bright and small and yellowish flowers gathered together to form a kind of panicle.

The tarragon varieties are two:

  • Siberian or Russian tarragon
  • French tarragon

The two varieties differ in particular in the resistance of the plant (greater in the case of the Russian and Siberian tarragon) and in the flavor (more aromatic than the French tarragon).

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Even in Italy the tarragon can be planted and cultivated, very difficult to find it instead as a spontaneous plant.

Index

  • Tarragon, nutritional values
  • Tarragon, use in the kitchen
  • Tarragon, fresh or dried
  • Tarragon, use as a natural remedy
  • How to grow tarragon
  • Tarragon, curiosities and legends

Tarragon, nutritional values

100 grams of tarragon provides our body with 295 calories. Of course, this aromatic herb is used in much smaller quantities and therefore the calorie intake is almost irrelevant.

To know the quantity of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins, refer to the following table:

  • Fat 7 g
  • Saturated fatty acids 1.9 g
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids 3.7 g
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 62 mg
  • Potassium 3.020 mg
  • Carbohydrates 50 g
  • Dietary fiber 7 g
  • Protein 23 g
  • Vitamin A 4,200 IU
  • Vitamin C 50 mg
  • Calcium 1,139 mg
  • Iron 32.3 mg
  • Vitamin D 0 IU
  • Vitamin B6 2.4 mg
  • Magnesium 347 mg

Tarragon, use in the kitchen

In the kitchen, tarragon is used to flavor different types of dishes thanks to its characteristic bitter and slightly spicy flavor (a cross between salt and pepper). This aromatic herb is part of the culinary tradition of France and, as regards our country, of the Tuscany region.

Probably the best known recipe in which tarragon is used is the Bernese sauce , used above all as a condiment for meat, but also that of the tarragon sauce typical of Tuscany.

The estragon is well suited to the creation of dishes based on:

  • fish and seafood
  • eggs (also omelettes)
  • meat (roasts)
  • cheeses
  • vegetables (especially tomatoes, potatoes, asparagus and onions)
  • rice

and preparations such as:

  • sauces
  • stuffed
  • savory pies
  • flavored butter (you can simply soften the butter and mix a small amount of tarragon)
  • flavored cream
  • flavored oil (let the leaves soak in extra virgin olive oil for a few days)
  • flavored vinegar (same procedure as oil)
  • salads (fresh tarragon leaves can be added to make them tastier)

Tarragon, fresh or dried

Tarragon, depending on the dishes, can be used:

  • Fresh: it has a more intense flavor but it is not always easy to find it (however it can be planted in the vegetable garden or on the balcony, see below)
  • Dried : it has a less decisive flavor but is easily found in the spices and aromatic herbs department of all supermarkets

If you have fresh tarragon available, you can very well chop and then store in the freezer using it as needed. There are those who recommend using ice containers for storing the aromatic herb combined with a little water.

Tarragon, use as a natural remedy

Since ancient times, tarragon has been used as a natural remedy suitable for different situations. We can thus summarize the beneficial properties of this aromatic herb

  • Digestive: an infusion of tarragon after meals helps promote digestion, even adding it to food makes stomach work easier
  • Against meteorism: this herb has the power to reduce intestinal swelling
  • Antiseptic: it is a natural antiseptic or a kind of disinfectant that can be useful for example in case of sore throat.
  • Diuretic: tarragon has a purifying power and in particular it is useful for eliminating excess liquids from our body
  • Anti-inflammatory: the anti-inflammatory power of this herb is highlighted for example in case of toothache and in general of problems with the oral cavity.
  • Aromatic and flavor enhancer: thanks to its particular flavor, tarragon allows you to flavor foods by avoiding or limiting the use of salt.
  • Stimulates the appetite: it is a natural remedy useful in case of loss of appetite

Usually tarragon as a natural remedy is used in the form of an infusion to be made with fresh or dried leaves. There is also tarragon essential oil to be used externally (unless otherwise advised by an expert) in case of:

  • anxiety and nervousness (can spread in circles)
  • muscle pain and rheumatism (to be used through massages)
  • cellulite (always to be massaged with the help of a carrier oil)

It is however contraindicated in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Do not use even on children.

How to grow tarragon

Tarragon seeds can be planted in both spring and autumn but unfortunately they are often not fertile. Precisely for this reason it is often advisable to grow the plant by rhizome or by cutting (in this case to make it take root better choose the months of April and May). Keep in mind that the tufts must be at least 40 centimeters away from each other and this is due to the fact that the tarragon has very branched roots.

This aromatic herb needs to be grown in a sunny, non-windy area. It needs a temperate climate and the thing to which we must pay particular attention are the frosts. During the months at risk, it is advisable to cover the plant with a mulch.

As for the soil, this must be fertile and well drained. Pruning, however, must be done before winter.

Tarragon, curiosities and legends

The name “tarragon” derives from the fact that the bush of this plant has a shape reminiscent of that of a small dragon as well as that of its roots that form a tangle. In fact, another theory has it that it is the popular fame that the tarragon had to heal from the bites of poisonous snakes to make it attribute the name that we still use today.

Then there is a legend that tells how the tarragon arrived in Tuscany. The protagonist of this popular story is a girl from Siena who fell in love with a dragon (knight) during the period of the Napoleonic occupation. One day, flapping his boots outside the window, he dropped seeds into a pot. Thus a plant was born, precisely the tarragon, whose name was attributed by the lover to remember his love (who in the meantime had returned to war).

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