Tasteless tarragon?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by marmalady, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Bought tarragon plants last year from two different nurseries. Neither one had much tarragon flavor last year; this year, the plants are coming back up, and now they have NO taste! Just tastes grassy.

    Anyone else experience this?
     
  2. mudbug

    mudbug

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    marmalady,

    Sounds like you have Russian Tarragon, what you want is French.

    There are three primary cultivars of tarragon:

    French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa) Started from cuttings only.

    Russian Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides) If you see any tarragon seeds, this is what you'll end up growing. Very little to no flavor.

    Mexican Tarragon (Tagetes lucida), a member of the marigold family. It has a slightly stronger flavor than the French variety, with an overtone of cinnamon, but is a fairly good substitute for it. Some people even prefer it. The Mexican tarragon is hardier (it's sometimes known as winter tarragon), and makes a good-looking plant in the garden, showy and with yellow flowers.

    Taste a leaf before buying. If there is no flavor, you don't want it.

    :p
     
  3. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Thanks, cchiu, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the French. Wonder what the Russians use it for if it's so tasteless?!!

    Have you ever heard 'mexican tarragon' called 'epazote'? I know what epazote is, and I seem to remember in the foggy regions of my mind a mention somewhere that it was a member of the tarragon family.
     
  4. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Like CChiu said, you want French Tarragon.

    Tarragon and Epazote are not in the same family.

    Tarragon is the "compositae family, and Epazote is in the Chenopodiaceae family, but you are right about it's use in Mexican cuisine. Cilantro, Cumin and Epazoto are consistently used in Mexican foods.

    Marmalady, do you like the aroma of Epazoto?
    cc
     
  5. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Not by itself, but in bean dishes and certain tingas, or stews, it blends and really seems to point up the other flavors.
     
  6. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Found the French Tarragon, and am having to restrain myself from picking the leaves til the plants get a little bigger!!!!
     
  7. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Wonderful marmalady! What are you dying to make with it?

    I find it to be a little light sensitive here... so you may want to consider a partial shade location for it if you haven't already.

    :)
     
  8. marmalady

    marmalady

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    I am ever so open for suggestions here! Since last year was to be my great experiment, only got the Russian kind so couldn't play, this will have to be my year for tarragon!

    things in the past I've made are a butter with tarragon, shallot, and tarragon vinegar to freeze for my steaks and hubbies' fish; a French green bean salad with tarragon; my own 'boursin'; I know there's other dishes I've made, but it's so hot right now I'm brain dead! More later!
     
  9. alexia

    alexia

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    Is it fact or fiction that epazote takes the "beans" out of beans?
     
  10. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Not sure but i think it's one of those folk-mediciney things that have come to be common knowledge and taken for fact. Epazote does seem to take 'the beans out of beans!'.
     
  11. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Tarragon in dijon mustard potato salad, Tarragon with chicken and basalmic fresh fig sauce, I love tarragon in chicken salad or beure Blanc...one of my favorite herbs. In Baton Rouge I grew a tarragon bush that lived year round in my little garden.
    Epozaote can be found randomly throughout the US as a weed.....sorta like persulane.
     
  12. panini

    panini

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    Marm,
    I just wanted to correct everyone on that first tarragon that you had with NO TASTE, that was taliban tarragon.
    Alexia,
    epezote is used quite regularly here in the South. It grows like weeds. Yes it does take the beans out of beans, another trick is not to salt till the end of cooking.
    HID
     
  13. marmalady

    marmalady

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    :lol: , Panini!

    Off topic, but here's my stupid gardening event of the week - all the herbs are on sale now, so I grabbed some 'parsley' to add to my dwindling plants at home, because I'm always snipping off too much at a time! Well, got them home and planted them in the big pot with the other parsley; hubbie took a look, and said, 'is that different kind of parsley'; condescendingly she said, 'no, honey, it's Italian parsley; the other plants are just older so they look different'.

    Well. Now the plants I just bought are all growing up and guess what I bought? Celery!!!!:blush: :blush: :blush: Never grew celery before, but it's great for snipping off little leaves to add great flavor!
     
  14. mudbug

    mudbug

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    panini,
    Is there really such a thing as "taliban tarragon"? Are you sure it is not one of the following? What is the latin name for it?

    marmalady,
    That's a funny story. It is very difficult to tell by sight as the leaves to look similar at early stages. Smell may have helped. Celery leaves tend to be very upright relative to the italian parsley leaves which tend to fan out, seemingly more mellow in posture and a little darker. A happy mistake which resulted in expanding your horizons!