Here at Keveral Farm, we grow both French Tarragon and Russian Tarragon. Russian Tarragon grows easily from seed, works well as a microgreen grown in trays and cut very small. It has a bad reputation, however I think it is quite a pleasant herb – you just can’t think of it as French Tarragon which is a lot more flavoursome. It is better thought of as an individual herb in its own right. Russian Tarragon grows well all year round (although, not outside in the winter) which makes it a very useful herb for this reason.
French Tarragon has that classic fizzy sort of sweet, almost peppery and slightly aniseed flavour with quite a unique power to it – oily and heady. Along with Parsley, Chives and Chervill it is one of the four classic ‘fines herbes’ of French cookery and is used widely in Mediterranean dishes. In Western Asia and Eastern Europe it is used to flavour a popular soft-drink called Tarkhun.
It is very difficult to keep alive during the winter and we struggle to keep it going in poly-tunnels, so we buy or propagate from new plants in the spring. The plant has long, soft green leaves and we concentrate on picking only the softer newish leaves because if you’re not careful Tarragon can be fairly stalky.