Tarragon Spice (Bio60_2018)

Adding to my collection of spices, I decided to write a post about Tarragon which is a rather unnoticed, unknown, but distinct spice. My last post focused on using a dry mount for a dried product, however,  tarragon was flat enough to be used with a wet mount to produce rather satisfying results.

 

Since these flakes were rather dry, using a wet mount helped yield better results and photographs through the diffraction of light through the small openings in the spice. The small openings may be a result of water allowing the flakes to expand instead of being condensed and shriveled in their original state.

Some subspecies of tarragon are well regarded for their aromatic properties and are used in herb mixes within the culinary arts. This particular subspecies of tarragon is known as Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa and had a pleasant smell to it when analyzing it. Such species of tarragon are popular within French cuisine and tarragon is used to flavor popular soft drinks in many countries in Asia.

Looking closer at the structure of the flakes within the photographs, there are various thick stems throughout the structure of the herb and there is a high density of cells concentrated there. This is what gives the herb most of its strength and structure and explains why the herb itself is found in rod-like states. The density of cells also helps explain why the color of tarragon tends to be a darker shade of green than most plants such as grass or leaves or other spices as the density in tarragon allows less light to travel through and be more opaque.

This post also emphasizes the pros and cons of using dry mounts and wet mounts. Both will yield different results with wet mounts being the standard option. Sometimes, a sample will only be observable using a specific type of mount such as in this example where tarragon needed a wet mount. Wet mounts may yield a larger range of colors to be observable while dry mounts may give a closer image to what the true structure of the sample is like without water interfering with the sample or seeping into the pores of samples. Regardless, I encourage all to try both wet mounts and dry mounts and see what sort of results they yield; the results might surprise you!

Have a nice day!

Luis

(Post is part of the #Bio60_2018 course.)

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