Thetarragon, botanicallyArtemisia dracunculus, is a perennial herbaceous species belonging to the family ofAsteraceae, the same as thesunflowers. Thetarragonis a bitter aromatic plant native to Siberia, south of southern Russia. In Italy, thetarragon, only rarely does it grow as a spontaneous plant, in fact it is cultivated by us for culinary or therapeutic purposes.
For culinary use
The leaves and flower tops are used in the preparation of salads and sauces. The tarragon it is widely used in French cuisine. It is particularly suitable for chicken, fish and egg dishes. It is possible to produce vinegar or oil flavored with tarragon simply by immersing a few leaves of this aromatic plant in the liquid.
The cultivation of tarragon
The most cultivated variety for food is thetarragonArtemisia dracunculus sativa. Thetarragonreaches a height of 120-150 cm, has thin and branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate, 2 - 8 cm long while the thickness is only 2-10 mm. The leaves are glossy green with a smooth edge. For the cultivation of tarragon it is recommended to suffer from rhizomatous roots that propagate easily, however, in the absence of a plant from which to draw, it is possible to buy the seeds.
Where to buy tarragon seeds?
A package of selected tarragon seeds for food costs approximately € 3.50 with shipping costs included.
Thetarragonprefers a sunny and warm exposure. In winter it enters vegetative rest so it must be irrigated very little, even in summer the irrigations must never be excessive.
The therapeutic properties of tarragon
Thetarragon it has an intense and pleasant aroma that vaguely recalls that of celery and fennel; the closest resemblance is that with anise, in fact the two plants have similar aromatic properties due to the presence of estragon. Tarragon is a phenylpropene, an organic compound that makes up 60 to 75% of the essential oil of tarragon. Recently, IRAN (National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition) highlighted the toxicity of this substance, for this reason the use of tarragon essential oil is not recommended in the kitchen.
So is tarragon toxic?
No, if the toxicity of tarragon essential oil is minimal, that of a few tarragon leaves is zero. It has been estimated that the concentration of estragole in fresh tarragon leaves amounts to about 2900 mg for each kilogram of product, according to the publication that appeared in Flavor and Fragrance entitled "Impact of estragole and other odorants on the flavor of anise and tarragon ”, Literally“ The impact of tarragon and the aromas of anise and tarragon ”.
Thetarragon, thanks to its active ingredients, it can perform differenttherapeutic properties.Experts reportpropertyantiseptic and digestive, in addition, the leaves contain good levels of micronutrients such as mineral salts and vitamins A and C. The use of tarragon infusion to stimulate appetite is widespread. More information is available in the article:The properties of the tarragon.