The tarragon or dragonfly (Artemisia dracunculus, L.) is a perennial Herbaceous plant originally from Central Asian, aromatic and bitter, belonging to the Asteraceae family. It is also called “dragon”, “tarfone”, “tragone”, “serpentary”.
The Dragoncello systematically belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, the Kingdom Plantae, Phylum Magnoliophyta, the Magnoliopsida Class, the Asterales Order, the Asteraceae Family, the Asteroideae Subfamily, the Anthemideae Tribe, the Artemisiinae Subtribution and then the Genera Artemisia and the Species A. dracunculus.
The name of the genus of this plant comes from the Latin and according to some Authors it is related to the Greek goddess Artemis, as a plant to her I wrote; According to other authors, the name comes from Artemisia, sister and wife of Mausoleus, king of Alicarnasso, famous for having erected his “mausoleum”, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and one who wants to be an expert in medicine. In any case, the term artemes, from which it originates, has the meaning of healthy for the healthy properties of this species. The epithet of the species comes instead of a small dragon, or snake, because it was believed that this species was able to heal from their bites.
The term tarragon, that is, “little dragon”, could also derive from the shape of the roots (which remind you of a tangle of snakes).
According to a legend, however, it is said that the plant came to Tuscany: a Sienese girl fell in love during the napoleonic occupation of a dragon (a soldier on horseback). One day, shaking his boots from the window, the soldier dropped seeds in a jar that the girl held on the sill. The dragon soon departed to return to his country and from that jar was born a fragrant plant that the girl called a tarragon, in memory of the love he had lived.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The tarragon is originally from southern Siberia and southern Russia. In Italy it is a cultivated species and rarely grows spontaneously. It prefers mostly sunny places and fertile and sandy soils. Cultivation soil should preferably be, in addition to very fertile, not damp.
The tarragon is a herbaceous plant. It has woody and rather branched roots, from which the stem is formed, erect, thin and very branched. The stem forms shrubs that can reach a height of about one meter; Has small, greenish-yellowish flowers, gathered in cobwish inflorescences. The leaves are thin, shiny and dark green. The fruit is dark in color and is 1-2 mm high. Seeds are generally sterile.
For cultivation techniques go to the specific tab.
Uses and Traditions –
The tarragon was widespread in the West just after the Crusades, while in Italy it spread from Tuscany.
Analysis of the pharmacological properties of the tarragon showed that the most interesting elements from the medical point of view are its ability to influence brain function and function of the gastrointestinal tract and the presence of a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity. The complexity and variety of the chemical composition of the tarragon requires in-depth studies to identify the main groups of biologically active substances, to specify the main quality measures and standardization of the raw materials and to carry out further pharmacological studies in order to develop new medicinal products .
The therapeutic properties of this herb are mainly digestive: the dragon increases the production of gastric juices, relieves constipation and meteorism.
In addition to these therapeutic peculiarities, the tarragon tarragon is a great spice in the kitchen; It is used to flavor the meat, fish and cheeses in fresh and dried versions; The fresh tarragon is spicy and tasty and is also good in salads.
There are several cultivated varieties of strawberries; The most famous are the French tarragon, the most intense scent, the German trencher, and the Russian tarragon, which is a harder winter variant, although less aromatic as a flavor.
Dragoncello has excellent digestive properties. To make use of it, just prepare an infusion of leaves to be taken immediately after meals, so as to help digestion to fight abdominal swelling, is a natural antiseptic. Its roots, in fact, contrast the sore throat and inflammation of the oral cavity.
Dragoncello contains vitamin A, C and mineral salts, stimulates appetite, has therapeutic properties not to be underestimated for those who suffer from insomnia. Drinking a cup of tarragon before sleeping helps, in fact, to rest more easily, it has purified properties and stimulates diuresis. This plant is cultivated in Western Europe for its gastronomic uses. Leaves and flowers are harvested in the warmer months. It is very used in Tuscan and French cuisine to flavor fish, eggs and other dishes. It is one of the main components of the Bernese sauce that is used to flavor grilled meat.
Chewing the leaves reduces the sensitivity of the taste buds, favoring the intake of bitter medicines. Usually leaves are used through an infusion. Roots give relief to sore throat and leaf infusion stimulates appetite.
The American Indians rubbed this freshly planted plant to attract love. In popular tradition it is considered a plant of love and strong passion, often associated with Santa Marta. In some popular cultures it is used in the preparation of powders, baths, defamations and talismans to attract love and passion.
Methods of Preparation –
The tarragon is aromatic, bitter and slightly bitter, with some notes of mint and celery.
The use of the dried tarragon is not recommended because in the drying process this plant loses much of its flavor while, if consumed fresh, its aroma is really very intense.
Good advice to keep the tarragon leaves and keep them at hand is to chop them and freeze them by pouring them into the ice containers and cover them with water. The use of this spice is very common in French cuisine, while in Italy it is characteristic of some Tuscan recipes.
The tarragon is perfect for flavoring eggs, meat, fish, seafood and various vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus and onions.
Fresh leaves are perfect to add to salads or to prepare sauces, including bernese sauce, tartar sauce and tarragon sauce, as claimed by the Sienese, made with spice leaves mixed with garlic and bread crumbs Soaked in vinegar and olive oil.
With the tarragon it is possible to flavor butter and vinegar creating spicy condiments to give an original touch to any recipe.
Another delicious use of this delicately spicy spice is to work the leaves with fresh cheese or cream and use the compound to make sandwiches to be enriched with tuna, ham or eggs.
The tarragon is a very versatile spice, it can substitute salt and pepper sauce but also mix perfectly with a chopped garlic, bread crumbs, oil and a pinch of salt to quickly blend and use as a seasoning. It can galvanize the flavor of vinegar, increase the taste of oil, cheeses, meat and fish, but also fennel and chickpeas, oily cauliflower, asparagus, vegetables to fry, or omelets, Panatas and salads. The most classic recipes for tarragon are Tartar sauce and Bernese sauce: in the first case it is a kind of mayonnaise embellished with the presence of a crunch of cucumbers, capers, parsley, pepper, salt and a lot of tarragon. As for the Berne or Bearnaise sauce, it is prepared with dry white wine, 1 tablespoon of dried tarragon in leaves, 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon, 200 grams of butter (also vegan), 4 egg yolks, 1 small shallot, A drop of vinegar of white wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper qb
Clean the fresh tarragon and finely chop it, slicing the shallot thinly and pour into a large pot a drop of water, wine, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the shallot and tarragon and let it soften, then filter the whole and keep the reduction fluid. Apart from working the yolks with the electric whip, add the filtered liquid by mixing and continuing the work while the mixture bakes in the bain-marie. Add the melted butter as you proceed to the mix with the help of the electric whip until it has a soft and foamy compound. Pour it into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, add the dried tarragon and a pinch of freshly minced spice, then lemon juice. Mix to mix and serve with stewed vegetables, or grilled, possibly meat and fish, but also toasted croutons.
Two original ideas on how to use the cooker in the kitchen: you can freeze in ice cubes to aromatize refreshing drinks and it is very good vinegar flavored with tarragon.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, no responsibility for their use for any curative, aesthetic or food use is considered.