In France tarragon is known as the King of Herbs . Tarragon is the base of many of the sauces that form the foundation of the French cuisine. French tarragon has a sweet licorice taste but unlike other herbs it loose it’s quality as it dries. Because of this it is important to add tarragon towards the end of the cooking cycle to be able to best enjoy it’s flavor.
French tarragon should be planted in full sun to partial shade. The soil should be well drained a sandy loam is the best tarragon will tolerate nearly dry poor soil. Tarragon will not grow well in cold wt or compacted soil.
French tarragon can not be grown from seed, it must be grown from root divisions or cuttings. Stem cuttings should be six to eight inches long and placed in moist sand. After four weeks roots should have formed and tarragon can planted outside the date of the last frost is the best time.. Keep the soil moist until the plants are established then you can let them go almost dry between watering. Tarragon like most herbs do well without excessive feeding a light spray with compost tea once or twice during the growing season. Tarragon is half hardy so it may not survive in areas of cold winters with out a heavy mulch will help to protect it. Divide tarragon every three to four years to keep plants growing vigorously. Prune back the plants once or twice in the summer to keep them bushy and stimulate new growth. Plants can be potted up at the end of summer and brought inside next to a sunny window for winter use.
French tarragon will be ready for harvest about sixty days after you have planted it. For best flavor you want to pick young top leaves of the plant in early summertime. Cutting back the top growth ensures a fresh supply of new leaves through the growing season.
Storing And Preserving
French tarragon is best used fresh. The leaves may be wrapped in a paper towel then placed in a plastic bag to be stored in the refrigerator for two or three weeks. It can be dried and frozen but does not retain it’s flavor well this way. Many people will store french tarragon in vinegar so that the essential oils will not be lost and it can be used in salads and dressings.
There are two other varieties of tarragon Russian tarragon is coarse and bitter tasting,it is not recommended for cooking. Mexican tarragon is a species of marigold that has a more cinnamon taste mixed in with the licorice flavor of french tarragon.