Tarragon is a tender leafy, aromatic herb. Thin, multi-branched stems grow from a central root which grows horizontally, growing young stem shoots to propagate the plant. Tarragon leaves are long and thin, smooth and glossy green in color. Multiple leaves grow up the stems in pairs. Tarragon can reach up to four feet in height. The leaves and stem are both edible and give off an anise or licorice aroma and taste. French or German varieties are typically sweeter and stronger in flavor than the Russian variety.
Tarragon can be used both fresh and dried, though the flavor is stronger in fresh leaves. It has a powerful flavor and can overpower other herbs; it is best used sparingly. Tarragon pairs well with egg dishes, poultry, and sauces like barnaise. Add Tarragon to marinades or chimichurri for game meats, pair the herb with mushrooms, seafood and vegetables like artichokes and potatoes. Tarragon can be used to flavor vinegars and can be used to flavor soft drinks or steeped in hot liquids to draw out the anise flavor. Use fresh Tarragon within a few days, store refrigerated in a plastic bag.