Tarragon is a bold herb with long, thin, flat leaves. The flavour is peppery and somewhat anise-like. It works well in chicken, beef and fish dishes. Tarragon has a tendency to take a dish over and war with other flavours, so care should be taken to taste recipes before adding too much. Add tarragon in the last several minutes of cooking to preserve the best flavour.
Choose tarragon with firm, bright stems and fresh looking leaves. Avoid any leaves that are yellowed or blackened. If the roots are attached, store the tarragon upright in a container of water, covered in plastic. If there are no roots, wrap it in a damp paper towel and put it in a plastic bag in the fridge. Tarragon should remain fresh for three to four days and should only be washed directly before use.
Did you know? Chewing fresh tarragon leaves will make the tongue and mouth feel slightly numb. This is because tarragon has a mild antiseptic property to it. Ancient Greeks were fond of this effect and often chewed tarragon to treat toothaches. The same antiseptic property will also freshen the breath after a pungent meal.