Community Garden Herb Spotlight: Tarragon

Written by Brianne Whittaker

tarragon

The Community Garden Herb circle is home to a thriving tarragon plant. French tarragon is a culinary herb of the sunflower family which grows as a perennial here in Calgary. Two other forms of tarragon: Russian and wild tarragon also exist but are less commonly used for culinary purposes. Russian tarragon is milder than the French version but is a very hardy plant which is easy to grow and drought resistant. French tarragon rarely makes flowers or seeds. If seeds are produced they are often sterile. Instead, it readily spreads from its rhizomatous roots.

French tarragon is commonly used for culinary purposes in France and other parts of Europe. It has a distinct anise flavour which particularly compliments chicken, fish and egg dishes. It is also the main flavouring in Béarnaise sauce.

Fresh tarragon is great when used fresh. It loses much of its flavour during the drying process. To retain the fresh flavour of tarragon, whole sprigs can be frozen in an air tight bag for up to 5 months. To make tarragon vinegar, place a few sprigs into a bottle of sterilized white vinegar. Steep a few days or longer until the desired taste is achieved.

Please feel free to harvest and enjoy the tarragon from the community garden herb circle. It is yours to share!

Edamame Salad with Fresh Tarragon

Recipe courtesy of Audrey Smith

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon (or 2 tsp dried) or more to taste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup drained and diced jarred roasted red peppers
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, preferably toasted

Directions:

  • Prepare quinoa according to package directions using vegetable broth instead of water. Cool. Mix the quinoa and edamame together in a bowl.
  • Make dressing with next 5 ingredients (lemon zest through salt) and pour over edamame mixture. Mix well. Top with roasted red peppers and walnuts. Chill before serving.
Brianne WhittakerChicken tarragon. All photos by Brianne Whittaker

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