An herb Q for the experts

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An herb Q for the experts

Postby Bob Henrick » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:18 am

I usually plant several herbs in the garden each spring including basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, chives, thyme, and some I don't even remember. Several years ago (10 or more) I planted some tarragon and it has propagated to the point that I almost wish it were eradicated. This summer I took my string trimmer and whacked it to the ground, but alas it is on the rise again. The last two years (for various reasons or excuses) I haven't planted many herbs so I have had to purchase whatever I needed except for thyme and some oregano, and of course the tarragon. Since the tarragon is pushing up from the massacre and the fact that I don't have basil, would it be possible (if sacrilegious) to use some of the tender young tarragon leaves in place of basil as a caprese like salad? Also, if you have recipes using fresh tender tarragon I would like to see them, so I can gather these leaves while they are young and tender. Of course I will make a liter or so of tarragon flavored vinegar, but not try to dry any of it as the oil will dry up and this results in an almost flavorless herb. Thanks in advance.
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Re: An herb Q for the experts

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:01 am

I'll leave the substitution question to others, but just wish my tarragon would begin to get established. This year I gave it lots of room and it still fizzeled.
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Re: An herb Q for the experts

Postby Bob Henrick » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:59 am

Carl Eppig wrote:I'll leave the substitution question to others, but just wish my tarragon would begin to get established. This year I gave it lots of room and it still fizzeled.


Be careful of what you wish for Carl. Tarragon is almost as invasive as mint, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. BTW, I started mine in a controlled space and soon had to move it to the yard.
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Re: An herb Q for the experts

Postby Jenise » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:04 pm

Bob, tarragon's delicious with tomatoes; also particularly delicious with chevre cheese so you might consider both substitions.
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Re: An herb Q for the experts

Postby Karen/NoCA » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:10 pm

My French Tarragon does the same thing. Be happy, it is hard to find in the nurseries sometime and I am told it is difficult to propagate.. When it gets too big, dig some out and give it away or dry it. I use it in chicken dishes a lot, Bearnaise Sauce, scrambled eggs, chicken and noodle soups, use it in pesto, and if you want to use it with tomatoes, do it. It is fun to play with herbs. There is no right or wrong what you do with your herbs. I've made tarragon butter to smear on roasted chicken. I love it on fillet steaks. Use it when sautéing mushrooms, make tarragon mayo, it is great with crab and mango salads, and so on!!
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Re: An herb Q for the experts

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:27 pm

I'm basically on the same wavelength as Karen. I think one can freely substitute any herb for any other herb. Of course, the dish will taste differently but it will "work". This is why you see recipes for non-basil pesto, etc.
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Re: An herb Q for the experts

Postby Karen/NoCA » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:11 pm

Of course I will make a liter or so of tarragon flavored vinegar, but not try to dry any of it as the oil will dry up and this results in an almost flavorless herb. Thanks in advance.


Although I have not tried drying it at home, I do use Penzey's dried tarragon. I can tell you that it is not flavorless. When I open the jar, I can immediately smell it's aroma. I use it in cold dishes and cooked. I also buy it in bulk for the winter season. I should try drying some of mine. .
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