Tarragon

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Tarragon
File:Estragon 1511.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Anthemideae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. dracunculus
Binomial name
Artemisia dracunculus
L.

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Tarragon or dragon's-wort (Artemisia dracunculus L.) is a perennial herb in the family Asteraceae related to wormwood. Corresponding to its species name, a common term for the plant is "dragon herb." It is native to a wide area of the Northern Hemisphere from easternmost Europe across central and eastern Asia to western North America, and south to northern India and Mexico. The North American populations may however be naturalised from early human introduction.

Tarragon grows to 120-150 cm tall, with slender, branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate, 2-8 cm long and 2-10 mm broad, glossy green, with an entire margin. The flowers are produced in small capitulae 2-4 mm diameter, each capitulum containing up to 40 yellow or greenish-yellow florets.

Cultivation and uses

File:Dried Taragon.JPG
A pot of dried tarragon leaves

Tarragon has an aromatic property reminiscent of anise, due to the presence of estragole. French tarragon is the variety generally considered best for the kitchen, but cannot be grown from seed. Russian tarragon (A. dracunculoides L.) can be grown from seed but is much weaker in flavour.

However, Russian tarragon is a far more hardy and vigorous plant, spreading at the roots and growing over a meter tall. This tarragon actually prefers poor soils and happily tolerates drought and neglect. It is not as strongly aromatic and flavoursome as its French cousin, but it produces many more leaves from early spring onwards that are mild and good in salads and cooked food. The young stems in early spring can be cooked as an asparagus substitute. Grow indoors from seed and plant out in the summer. Spreading plant can be divided easily.

Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking, and particularly suitable for chicken, fish and egg dishes. Tarragon is one of the main components of Bearnaise sauce.

Tarragon is used to flavor a popular carbonated soft drink in the countries of Armenia, Georgia and, by extension, Russia. The drink—named Tarkhun (IPA: [tar'xu:n], թարխուն, Тархун), which is the Armenian, Persian and Russian word for tarragon—is made out of sugary tarragon concentrate and colored bright green.

"I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around." --James Beard

Cis-Pellitorin, an isobutylamide eliciting a pungent taste, has been isolated from Tarragon plant.[1]

References

  1. Gatfield IL, Ley JP, Foerstner J, Krammer G, Machinek A. Production of cis-pellitorin and use as a flavouring. World Patent WO2004000787 A2

External links

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ar:طرخوم

bs:Estragon br:Stragon bg:Тарос cs:Pelyněk estragon da:Estragon de:Deutscher Estragoneo:Estragonoid:Tarragon os:Тархун it:Artemisia dracunculus lt:Vaistinis kietis hu:Tárkony nl:Dragon (plant)no:Estragon nn:Estragonsk:Palina dračia sl:Pehtran fi:Rakuuna (kasvi) sv:Dragon (växt) uk:Тархун


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