Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Estragon - Tarragon

Estragon: plante potagere, d’un goût âcre & aromatique qu’on emploie en cuisine, & les sommités, sur-tout les plus tendres, dans les fournitures des salades.

Cette plante fournit un assaisonnement fort sain; elle augmente l’appetit, facilite la digestion, préserve les humeurs de putridité, ou la corrige; fait périr les vers; est legérement apéritive & calmante.

Tarragon: plant potagere, of a bitter & aromatic taste which one employs in kitchen, & the buds, especially most tender, in the supplies of salads.

This plant provides an extremely healthy seasoning; it increases the appetite, facilitates digestion, preserves moods of putridity, or corrects it [acid tisane]; purges worms; is slightly apéritive & calming.
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Dictionnaire Portatif de Cuisine, d'Office, et de Distillation. Chez Vincent, Paris 1767, p. 263.
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«An old French remedy for insomnia and hyperactivity that's been tried with pretty good success is tarragon tea. Tarragon tea is used for tough insomnia. Just steep 1-1/2 tsp. of the dried, cut herb in 1-3/4 cups boiling water, covered and away from the heat, for 40 minutes. Prepare about an hour before retiring, then strain and drink the tea while it's still lukewarm.

The best way to take tarragon for digestive-related problems is in the form of a homemade vinegar, 1 tbsp. before each meal. To make tarragon vinegar, fill a wide-mouthed fruit jar with the freshly gathered leaves, picked just before the herb flowers, on a dry day. Pick the leaves off the stalks and dry a little on a flat cookie sheet lined with foil in a low-set oven.

Medicinal uses - A simple infusion of tarragon leaves has been used to stimulate the appetite, relieve flatulence and colic, regulate menstruation, alleviate the pain of arthritis and rheumatism and gout, and expel worms from the body. The fresh leaf or root, applied to aching teeth, cuts, or sores, is said to act as a local anesthetic.

Culinary uses - Tarragon is essential in the making of Béarnaise sauce, hollandaise sauce, Montpellier butter, sauce tartare, salad dressings and vinaigrettes. It is always included in French fines herbes mixtures.

Use tarragon leaves to flavor fish, shellfish, poultry, meat dishes, particularly veal, creamy soups, omelets, quiche, and delectable oeufs en gelee, as well as spinach and mushroom dishes. As it takes but a few minutes' cooking time to release tarragon's flavor, add the leaves when your dish is just about ready to serve.»

Cited from: Herbs 2000

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