Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is a perennial bushy plant with many branched stems and narrow leaves which belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is originally from the steppes of central Asia.
The Latin name derives from dracunculus which means "little dragon"; the origin of this name is to be found in the fact that Tarragon was considered an antidote against the bites of snakes and other poisonous animals.
Tarragon leaves and flowers are collected in the warmer months for gastronomic use. It is widely used in Tuscan and French cuisine to flavor fish, eggs and other dishes. It is one of the main ingredients of the Bernese sauce which is used to flavor grilled meat.
Tarragon has a full and unique flavour reminiscent of a mix of salt, pepper and vinegar, ideal as a condiment for those who must observe a low-sodium diet.
According to a Sienese legend, a girl fell in love with a cavalryman of Napoleon's army, that is a "dragon". One day the soldier while cleaning his boots next to a window, dropped some seeds into a pot placed on the windowsill. Those seeds gave birth to this strange plant that the girl called tarragon.