We’ve been nurturing along two pots of tarragon for a number of years now, since my dad presented us with a couple of cuttings. It’s the proper, refined French tarragon, not the rough Russian stuff (which should be avoided), and it makes a great garden herb, whether that’s with roast chicken, in cream sauces, in salad dressings or with any kind of eggy, omeletty dish.
It’s now producing more than we can use – during the summer at least – so it’s another of those things crying out for preserving through those parts of the year when it’s a bare twiggy sleepy plant. We’ve already managed to freeze a bit of it with other herbs in our herb butter. But as well as that, we thought we’d try making a herb vinegar this year.
This is a really simple way to preserve the flavour of herbs – another of those things that’s not so much a recipe, just a set of simple instructions. We picked this one up via Johnny Acton & Nick Sandler’s brilliant Preserved book. So here’s what you’ll need:
- A couple of handfuls of tarragon (about the equivalent of 4 tbsp)
- 500ml white wine or cider vinegar
- A sterilised litre jar or other container
- A half litre bottle.
All you do is bash the tarragon about a bit on a chopping board, push it into your jar or container & then pour the vinegar over it. Leave it in a dark place for 4 weeks and then strain it into the sterilised half litre bottle. Add a sprig or two for decoration and you’re finished. This works with just about any savoury herb or combination of herbs.
If you’re growing tarragon, it does really well in a pot and you need to remember to bring it inside or into a cool greenhouse during the winter months.
I’m still toying with the idea of making some tarragon brandy, but after I told Ali it would taste a bit like green Chartreuse, she went right off the idea…