Thursday, November 17, 2016

Tarragon...but not a True Tarragon


This one was a little tougher…..  it is  Tagetes lucida  or Tarragon, Four Seasons. It is not a true tarragon but a good substitute.  It is also sometimes mistakenly referred to as Mexican Mint Marigold as it is from the same family. I have also heard it referred to as Spanish Tarragon. 


The long narrow bright green leaves have a sweet anise smell and taste. Thus making it a good substitute for French Tarragon. (Artemisia dracunculus).  Since I fail miserably at growing the real tarragon, I have used this as a substitute in many of my fish and chicken recipes that call for tarragon.  It dries nicely so I have substituted it in my blends like Fines Herbes, Herbes de Provence, and Bouquet Garni.  I have not tried to use it in Herb Vinegar, but I will let you know as that is part of my harvest plan for this herb. 

The bright daisy like blossom is adorable but taste like grass, not a great additive to most dishes. It blooms late summer to early fall. It is still blooming proud and strong today in my garden. 

I love the way this plant stands straight up (up to 30’) and spreads out. It is only hardy in zones 8-10, so has to be treated as an annual in my neck of the woods. Mine is in full sun and responded nicely to it’s summer home. It resists drought and likes poor soil. Perhaps that is why it has done well this year.   

Time for me to either bring it in or harvest the leaves. It survived the last light frost last week but I think I am pushing my luck.  My plan for next year is to buy two, put one in the ground and one into a container.



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