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High time to harvest your tarragon

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

It has been a good year for my tarragon and it's going to flower soon. High time to collect some an make a batch of tarragon vinegar. I don't make this every year, but I always have a collection of tarragon vinegar ready.

Collect the branches, wash them well and push a few at a time in an empty bottle. I use the back of a wooden spoon to push the tarragon down but first I fold the branches; this works easier. Push in as many branches as you can without using force. Fill the bottle with a good natural white vinegar and store away for ... the next years to come. Well, at least forget it for a few months. However, I'm not joking when I suggest to put it away for years; I'm now using a bottle dated... august 2000. The older it gets, the softer tasting the vinegar becomes, leaving a nice tarragon aroma. The branches stay in until a bottle is started. I then decant the vinegar and remove the stalks before adding the vinegar back in and use it.

 

I use it for making mayonnaise, béarnaise, on tomatoes and in many sauces.

Makes a great gift for a fellow foodie around Christmas! I have a friend foodie with whom I share tarragon vinegar. One year she has a better harvest, another year it's my turn. The year 2000 bottle I'm using now was a gift.

 

Tarragon vinegar 1 Tarragon vinegar 2

 

And, tarragon leaves freeze very well without much taste loss! Drying them can be done but much taste will be lost, also, it will taste a bit like straw.

post #2 of 6

That's awesome CB! Tarragon is an herb I literally don't use at all. The only dish I know of that had tarragon in it was a local soup, although apparently exists elsewhere called "Chicken Velvet" and it relies on that herb for its distinct flavor. Any recommended recipes to try that feature it? I think I can get it fresh at our grocer.

post #3 of 6

Year 2000 tarragon vinegar. Your're a real gourmand, Chris.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #4 of 6

I love tarragon, love it! It is one of the few herbs I don't grow though. I really need to rectify that, yours looks beautiful.

I didnt even know you could get the vinegar. I will have to seek some out.

Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness

AUGUSTE ESCOFFIER

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Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness

AUGUSTE ESCOFFIER

Ravioli
(5 photos)
  
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post

 Any recommended recipes to try that feature it? I think I can get it fresh at our grocer.

Tarragon can be used in so many dishes. It is also part of what is called "fines herbes", nothing more than a combination of fresh soft herbs like parsley, chives, chervil and of course tarragon. Basil and dill are also soft herbs but they're not used in a fines herbes combination. There are no fixed amounts of herbs to be used in fines herbes, you take a combination of what's available. If there's an abundance of tarragon and the dish will make a great combination, you can use much more of it than other herbs. Tougher herbs like thyme, rosemary etc. don't go in fines herbes preparations.

 

A very well known cold sauce is a combination of mayo (not too much), fines herbes, finely chopped shallot, crushed hard boiled egg, mustard, capers, chopped small sour gurkins. You may know it under the name sauce Gribiche. Leave the eggs out and it's a sauce Remoulade. Both sauces go so well with fried white fish filets, especially when breaded before. Goujons, or simply small strips of white fish filets, breaded (flour, egg, panko) and a sauce Gribiche is di-vi-ne! Many times, both sauces are simply called sauce tartare or tartar sauce in English.

 

One of the best food pairings imo is tarragon with chicken! Put a handful fresh tarragon branches in the cavity before roasting the bird. Or, mix a bunch of tarragon with butter and seasoning at room temperature, cut the chicken open, loosen the skin a bit with your hand or a wooden spoon and fill that space now with tarragon butter.

You can serve the same butter, chilled in a nice roll, on barbecued chicken or other meat, or on baked potatoes...

 

Chicken with tarragon butter

 

Of course, there are so many ways to use tarragon. A béarnaise or sauce choron don't even exist without it.

post #6 of 6

It also has an affinity with Dijon mustard and together with some cream they make a very nice sauce for chicken.

 

My windowsill tarragon plant has not survived well this year. It looked completely dead a week ago but the other day I noticed tiny green shoots at the base of the shriveled brown leaves and am hoping it will make some kind of recovery. I've never had an herb plant die so quickly and so seemingly completely. I have no idea what caused the die back. It looked like a perfectly healthy plant when I repotted it after bringing it home from the farmer's market. Everything else growing on my windowsills is doing fine--except for the chives, which the cat chewed down to nubs.

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