Tarragon has a subtle anise and licorice flavor and can be used in a variety of recipes, from salad dressings to herb-coated chicken. You can dry tarragon for future use in a food dehydrator, in the oven, or by air drying it. After drying tarragon, place it in an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dry place.
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What is the Best Way to Preserve Tarragon?
The best way to preserve tarragon is to dry it in a food dehydrator. This is the best option if you want to dry a large batch of tarragon quickly and efficiently within 4 hours.
How to Dehydrate Tarragon in a Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator has low-temperature settings that make it ideal for drying herbs.
- Wash fresh tarragon sprigs in cold water and dry them with paper towels.
- Place the tarragon sprigs in a single layer on food dehydrator trays.
- Set the device’s temperature to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or use the “herbs” setting.
- Dry tarragon sprigs for 1 to 4 hours, checking the progress each hour to test for dryness.
- Once the tarragon appears dry, separate the leaves from the stems and discard the stems.
- Transfer the tarragon leaves to a labeled, airtight container and store in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and humidity.
How to Dehydrate Tarragon in an Oven
It is also possible to dry tarragon leaves in an oven. Since high heat can burn the herbs, you should use the lowest temperature setting and keep the oven door propped open during the drying process. Lastly, monitor the progress closely to prevent scorching.
To dry tarragon in an oven, follow these steps:
- Separate the leaves from the stems before drying them in an oven.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the tarragon leaves on the baking sheet in an even, single layer.
- Set your oven to the lowest temperature possible, preferably less than 160°F.
- Slightly open the oven door to improve air circulation.
- Check and flip the leaves every 20-30 minutes. High heat can destroy the essential oils of the herbs and ruin the flavor, so check on them regularly.
- Turn the heat of the oven off after one hour and remove the dried herbs. Let them cool to room temperature before transferring them to a labeled, airtight container.
- Store the dried tarragon in a cool, dry place away from heat and direct sunlight.
How to Air Dry Tarragon
Air drying is the traditional method of drying tarragon and other herbs. The easiest way to dry tarragon naturally is to tie the stalks or stems in a bundle and hang them upside down.
The best place for air-drying herbs is a dark location with moving air. These conditions help speed up the drying process. A warm temperature is optimal, but excess heat can diminish flavor.
Air drying herbs is a time-consuming process, but it produces great results. Here are the steps to follow:
- Pick a well-ventilated, dry room with warm, moving air.
- Tie the stems or stalks in small bunches using butcher’s twine or string.
- Hang the herbs with the stalks up and the leaves facing down to dry. You may use a suitable herb drying rack for this purpose, as well.
- Another good idea is to poke some holes in a paper bag for aeration and use it to cover the tarragon leaves to keep dust and dander off of the leaves.
- Allow the bunches of tarragon to hang for one to two weeks until the leaves are brown and crisp.
- Once the tarragon leaves are completely dry, separate the leaves from the stems and transfer the dried leaves to a labeled, airtight container for storage.
Why Dry Tarragon?
There are many reasons to dry tarragon at home, including:
- Can be added to a variety of recipes, including soups and stews
- Dubbed the king of herbs by home cooks for its flavor
- Fresh herbs are easy to grow, and tarragon dries beautifully
- Fresh tarragon only lasts 10-14 days and must be paper towel wrapped and stored in a refrigerator
- Home-dried tarragon tastes better than commercial grocery store options
How Long Does it Take to Dry Tarragon?
It takes 1-4 hours to dry tarragon in a food dehydrator and around 1 hour in an oven. If you wish to air-dry tarragon, the process takes one to two weeks.
Is it Safe to Dry Tarragon?
Should Dried Tarragon Be Stored in a Freezer?
It is possible to freeze-dried tarragon for up to three months. The best way to maintain the flavor and aroma is to put them in an opaque, airtight container such as a Mylar bag, remove as much of the air as possible, and store them with an oxygen absorber.
What is the Best Way to Store Dry Tarragon?
After drying the tarragon, store it in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag. The container should be placed in a dark, dry place away from direct sunlight for maximum color and flavor.
What is the Shelf Life of Dried Tarragon?
Dried tarragon can last 1 to 3 years if stored in an airtight container. However, dried herbs do lose their aroma and flavor over time. For the best results, use dried herbs within six months.