The Latin name of the herb is Artemisia dracunculus. The name “tarragon” is of French origin, while in English it is rendered as “tarragon”. There are two varieties of the herb, Russian and French. The Russian, originally from Siberia, is considered the original plant from which the French variety originated. The aroma of Russian lags behind in sharpness compared to French which is generally considered superior. Its taste is reminiscent of aniseed due to their common substance anethole which increases appetite. It has many applications in cooking, enriching meat and fish sauces, boiled vegetables, mayonnaise, green salads, even ice creams or fruit salads. Add it towards the end of the food because prolonged cooking gives it a bitter taste and loses its aroma. Tarragon does not go well with other herbs with perhaps the only exception being lemon and chives. It is one of the best flavorings of vinegar and mustard. Its leaves contain iodine, potassium and vitamins A and C.
Tarragon is cultivated for its leaves, for fresh or dry consumption. The most suitable harvest time is considered when the plants are in the stage of beginning of flowering. The shoots after harvesting should be taken to the dryer immediately, so that the leaves retain their green color. The leaves retain their aroma best when stored in airtight containers.
Yields in dry leaves are estimated at 500-600 kg per hectare. French tarragon leaves contain about 2-3% essential oil. The essential oil of French tarragon is more fragrant and has a greater commercial value than the essential oil of Russian tarragon.