How to dehydrate and preserve tarragon – whether you grow it in your backyard herb garden or buy it fresh from the produce section, tarragon is easy to preserve, and makes a tasty addition to your food storage!
Tarragon is one of those herbs people don’t pay much attention to when starting an herb garden, but miss out on a wonderful flavor! Tarragon is incredibly easy to grow, and preserves really well! We’ll walk through how to use different preservation methods to keep Tarragon in your stock all year long!
As you all know, I’m always on the hunt for a great bargain, and when I ran into a clearance on packaged fresh tarragon, I was happy!! Because we weren’t able to expand our garden this year, my herb beds were functionary (basil, thyme, oregano), and I was running out of many of the dried herbs I keep on hand. So I stocked up!
While I prefer to use fresh herbs as much as possible, dried herbs bring more intense flavors for long-cooking dishes, and store better for long-term.
A Tip: The rule of thumb is to always use 3 x the amount of fresh herbs when a recipe calls for dried. You can use dried herbs in the middle of the cooking process, but fresh herbs should be used towards the end for a more flavorful dish, if possible.
HOW TO PRESERVE TARRAGON
There are various ways you can preserve Tarragon and other fresh herbs.
- Dehydrate them / air dry them (see below)
- Freeze them (see below)
- Infuse oils
- Make flavored salts
- Make flavored butters
- Make flavored vinegar
Before you begin any process of preservation, be sure to
- Inspect your leaves and stems and remove any that are not optimum for saving;
- Wash your tarragon in water to remove any chemicals, sprays or dirt from leaves and stems. While I often use a heavy vinegar soak on vegetables and non-protected fruits, I do a general rinse for herbs.
- Lay leaves and stems out to dry
HOW TO DEHYDRATE TARRAGON
1. Lay out the stems:
Lay out your stems on your dehydrator trays. They can touch as they do shrink a bit, but don’t mound them up.
Temp & Time: Dry at 95F for 4-6 hours, depending on your humidity level.
Check for Doneness: If they are brittle, they are done. I recommend pulling a stem out and allowing it to cool down, then testing for doneness. If you get a great crackle when you crush leaves between your fingers, you are good to go.
• Learn more: How to Dehydrate Herbs without a Dehydrator
2. Remove Leaves From Stems
Once done, remove the leaves from the stems. Chop dried leaves into smaller pieces to use to make herb blends or to store for use on its own. You can simply rub between your palms, or you can use a knife, it’s up to you.
3. Store Dried Tarragon
Store in an airtight container and in a cool, dry, dark place if possible. I do happen to store my daily use herbs in magnetic canisters on the side of my fridge, but I store the bulk dried herbs in my pantry where it’s dark.
I put my excess dried herbs into a small vacuum sealed bag to help keep it fresh for the coming year.
How to Freeze Tarragon
1. Always wash your herbs
Wash in water to remove any debris. Layout out flat on a tea towel to dry.
2. Strip the leaves
Place 2 TB in each compartment and cover completely with oil or water.
Store your cubes in airtight containers or in baggies with all of the air removed to prolong freezer-life.
Toss your tarragon nuggets into stews and soups and they will thaw and flavor your food.
How to use Dried Tarragon
Fines Herbes Blend
- 1 TB tarragon
- 1 TB chervil
- 1 TB chives
- 1 TB parsley
This herb blend is wonderful on chicken, in alfredo pasta, in salads and more. You can multiply it out as much as you need, and adjust flavors a bit if you’d like. You can purchase it already made here if sourcing chervil is a problem.
Creamy Tarragon Chicken Salad
Only a pesto chicken salad can rival this chicken salad for me. I love ones that let the chicken flavor stand out – not the mayo flavor of so many. You can skip the sour cream and add a little more yogurt plus some lemon juice if you prefer.
- 2 cans canned chicken (or use freshly roasted chicken chunks). I really like Kirkland’s canned chicken that I keep stocked in my pantry.
- 1 cup plain yogurt (make from powdered milk)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 2 TB fresh tarragon, chopped – less if you are using dried
- 1 TB fresh mint leaves (less if you are using dried)
- 1 finely chopped apple
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Directions – Mix all ingredients and store in refrigerator – serve with crackers, on homemade bread, etc.
Whether you buy it from the store, or grow it in your herb garden, tarragon is a great herb to preserve for use throughout the year, in many different ways. These step by step instructions make it easy for you to do so. And be sure to apply these preservation methods to other herbs.
If you have a favorite way to preserve tarragon that I didn’t mention – let me know! I’d love to try it out, too!