Preserve Tarragon with a Food Dehydrator

Drying the herb tarragon with a food dehydrator will allow you to add flavor and nutrition to your cooking year-round.

Tarragon in the Garden

Tarragon in the Garden

Tarragon is not easy to propagate because it does not produce seeds.  Since tarragon does not produce seeds, you introduce this culinary herb to your garden by purchasing a plant.  Thereafter, you can grow more tarragon by taking a cutting from your existing plant or by dividing your existing plant into two or three plants.

Tarragon is not a particularly attractive garden herb because it does not maintain a compact shape—it folds, flops and sprawls.

Tarragon showing its characteristic of being

Tarragon showing its characteristic of being “floppy”

Notwithstanding the challenges of propagation and untidy sprawl, growing tarragon is easy and well worth the effort.  It is a most flavorful herb with a distinct anise flavor.  The addition of tarragon to any sauce adds depth.  Tarragon is associated with French cooking but you can use it whenever you wish to make your recipe special.  You need not even have a grand recipe in mind.  Tarragon can be enjoyed just by sprinkling it with a pat of butter on boiled carrots!  

To dry your garden’s tarragon in a dehydrator, first take cuttings from your plant.  Cutting about 8 to 10 stems that are 8 inches long will give you enough tarragon to fit nicely into the trays of the dehydrator pictured below.

Tarragon cutting rinsed and ready to dry

Tarragon cutting rinsed and ready to dry

Since the stems of the tarragon plant flop and sprawl, some leaves might have laid on the ground.  Therefore, rinse the stem and leaves and pat them dry prior to placing them in the dehydrator.

Do not remove the leaves from the stems.  The dehydrator uses a fan to disburse warm air throughout its compartment.  If taken off the stems, the leaves might fly about in the compartment.  Keeping the leaves on their stems will keep the leaves in place during the dehydration process.

Fresh tarragon on the tray of a food dehydrator

Fresh Tarragon on the tray of a food dehydrator

The leaves of tarragon and narrow but 1 to 4 inches long.  It will take time for the dehydrator to thoroughly dry the leaves because the dehydrator will be set at a low but optimal temperature.  Set at 100° F and fully packed with tarragon, it took 2 days to dry the fresh garden tarragon with the Nesco Model FD-75PR (5 Tray) Snackmaster® Pro Food Dehydrator. Using a dehydrator will insure that your tarragon will have dried, not burned, in a dust free environment away from all moist conditions inside your home.

Dried Tarragon on the tray of a food dehydrator

Dried Tarragon on the tray of a food dehydrator

After the tarragon is dry, hold a stem and pinch off the leaves on the stem and then discard the stem.

Remove dried tarragon leaves by pinching stem in a downward motion

Remove dried tarragon leaves by pinching stem in a downward motion

You will never need to purchase dried tarragon again because you can easily grow tarragon in your garden and just as easily preserve it for  kitchen use.

Tarragon dried using a home food dehydrator

Tarragon dried using a home food dehydrator

If you wish to preserve tarragon and other herbs from your garden, a dehydrator is a wise investment.  To purchase a dehydrator from North Country Herbs that is a good size and great value for the family gardener and cook, click on the link I can dry my own herbs.