Tarragon, or wormwood, is a favorite French herb! Learn to work with him too

If you hone in on the recipes of French cuisine, you cannot avoid the use of tarragon.

The herb, known in our country as wormwood, is an addition to almost all recipes of this country and maybe that’s why the dishes that come from there are so incredibly delicious!

Read why this is so, how best to use the herb, what taste to prepare for and how to grow it in the comfort of your home in a flower pot!

What is tarragon?

Tarragon is an herb known for its glossy, skinny leaves and aromatic flavor. The most common type used in cooking is the French variety.

Tarragon is an ingredient in many French dishes, and its mild flavor pairs well with fish, chicken and eggs. Referred to in France as the “King of Herbs” for its ability to complement a dish, it is one of the four herbs used extensively in French cuisine alongside a combination of parsley, chervil and chives.

Tarragon is a perennial, meaning that once planted, it will regrow every year. The stems are stiff and woody and the leaves are long and thin with pointed ends.

What does the fresh form of the herb, known as the king of herbs, look like.
Source: holisticenko.com

Types of tarragon

While French tarragon is the most common, there are other varieties, including Spanish (also known as Mexican) and Russian tarragon.

Mexican tarragon has a flavor very similar to French tarragon, although a bit richer with a more minty flavor, it also has tiny golden flowers.

While Russian tarragon looks very similar to French tarragon, its flavor is stronger and more bitter and is most often used to flavor drinks.

What does tarragon taste like?

Tarragon is one of those herbs that people either love or hate. It mainly depends on their relationship to licorice. This herb has a complex flavor that brings more than just anise flavor.

It’s a combination of bitter and sweet, with hints of vanilla, mint, pepper, and eucalyptus, setting it apart from other licorice-flavored foods like fennel.

Fresh vs. dried

As with many herbs, there is a big difference between fresh and dried tarragon. However, this difference is even more obvious because tarragon is a delicate herb and loses its flavor properties during drying.

Many cooks will not use dried tarragon because it has lost its delicate flavor. If using dried instead of fresh, 1 teaspoon should be replaced with 1 tablespoon.

The herb in its dried and fresh form.
Source: lacademie.com

Health benefits of tarragon

Content of beneficial nutrients, few calories and carbohydrates

What tarragon contains in one tablespoon (2 grams):

Calorie Carbohydrates Manganese Iron Potassium
5 kcal 1 g 7%* 3%* 2%*
* recommended daily intake
  • Manganese – is an essential nutrient that plays a role in brain health, growth, metabolism and reducing oxidative stress in your body
  • Iron – is the key to cell function and blood formation. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia and lead to fatigue and weakness
  • Potassium – is a mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nerves. What’s more, research has found that it can lower blood pressure

It can help lower blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity

Insulin is a hormone that helps bring glucose into your cells so you can use it for energy. Wormwood has been found to help improve insulin sensitivity and the way your body uses glucose.

It can improve sleep

Insufficient sleep is linked to poor health outcomes and can increase your risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The Artemisia group of plants, which includes tarragon, is used as part of remedies for poor sleep.

May increase appetite

Loss of appetite can occur for a variety of reasons, such as age, depression, or chemotherapy. If left untreated, it can lead to malnutrition and reduced quality of life. Tarragon extract can help increase feelings of hunger.

It may have antibacterial properties

Additives are added to food to help preserve the food and kill bacteria that cause foodborne illness, such as E. coli. The results showed that all samples treated with wormwood essential oil had an antibacterial effect, which means that tarragon can be an effective preservative in foods such as cheese.

The health benefits of this herb.
Source: healthyfocus.org

How to grow tarragon?

Tarragon is a perennial herb with long, pale green leaves and small greenish or yellowish white flowers.


  • You cannot grow French Wormwood from seed. You have to buy the plant. Plant in spring or fall.
  • Plant the plants in well-drained soil about 60 to 90 cm apart to give each plant room to grow.
  • The plants should grow to a height of about 60 to 90 cm.


  • Make sure you prune the plant regularly to keep it around 60cm tall or the plant will break.
  • If you live in a colder climate, be sure to mulch around the plants in late fall to protect the roots during the winter.


  • Harvest the plant regularly. With regular care, two or three plants will be enough.
  • Tarragon is best used fresh in summer.
  • You can freeze or dry the leaves. Once the leaves are dry, store them in airtight containers.
At what distance should the seedlings be planted?
Source: wikihow.com

What is tarragon used for?

Fresh and dried wormwood are used differently in recipes. When cooking with fresh, the leaves should be rinsed and dried before use. The leaves are then removed from the stem, which can be done simply by running your fingers along the stem from top to bottom. The leaves can be used whole or chopped.

Fresh tarragon should be added towards the end of cooking, if it is left to cook for a long time, the taste will become bitter.

Fresh tarragon can be incorporated into salad dressings and sauces, as well as chicken and potato salads. It can be sliced ​​and thrown into a green salad or used as a garnish. Wormwood is also an ideal herb for making flavored vinegar.

Dried tarragon is added at the beginning of recipes, but due to its weaker taste, it does not produce the same effect as fresh.

Tarragon Butter Nut Sauce for this Perch Recipe
Prepare a spread from it and use it for sandwiches, which you will read about in our article
This chicken salad will be great if you add fresh wormwood to it
Add it to scrambled or fried eggs
Use it as a garnish on roasted chicken like these chicken supreme recipes
Toss it in sauces like pesto or our spaghetti aglio olio
Add it to fish, like these salmon recipes or these tuna salads
Mix wormwood with olive oil and drizzle the mixture over the roasted vegetables

Tips for recipes with tarragon

  • Tarragon vinegar
  • Butter sauce (Béarnaise)
  • Herb salad dressing
  • Omelet with fresh tarragon
  • Mayonnaise Tarragon Aioli
  • Warm potato salad with tarragon
  • Crab cake with tarragon
  • Tomatoes, mozzarella and tarragon
The most diverse recipes in which it is good to add this herb.
Source: befunky.com

What can be substituted for tarragon?

If your recipe calls for fresh tarragon and you don’t have any, there are several options for substituting it.

Fresh chervil is relatively close in taste.

Fennel seeds and bulbs bring licorice notes, as do anise seeds.

Basil is also worth a try. If you’re looking for another fresh herb, swap it out for one with basil, dill, or marjoram.

The most common herbs that can replace the taste of tarragon.
Source: blog.inspireuplift.com

Where to buy tarragon

Dried tarragon can be found in the spice aisle of most supermarkets and is also available online.

Fresh tarragon can be a bit more difficult to find as it is not as popular as other herbs such as parsley, chives, dill and cilantro. In spring and early summer, you can spot it at your local farmer’s market.

Tarragon plants can also be found in pots at garden supply stores, place the pot in a sunny spot and remember to water it regularly.

How to store tarragon?

Fresh tarragon can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Place the tarragon stalks in a small glass of water and leave on the line for about a week.

For longer storage, store the herb in the refrigerator. Rinse and dry fresh tarragon, wrap in a damp paper towel and place in an airtight container where it will keep in the fridge for about two weeks.

You can also freeze fresh tarragon for up to five months.

Dried tarragon will keep for up to a year if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)