Arugula

About

A type of salad green related to mustard greens and watercress. Arugula has a distinctively pungent flavor and tends to be very sandy, requiring careful washing prior to use. Though tender and perishable, Arugula has become widely available and increasingly popular in the salad aisle. The dark green, lobed leaves have a sharp, "peppery" taste, and  form an open head.  If growing in a garden, start the seeds outside in early spring, spacing the plants 4 to 6 inches apart.  Sow every 3 weeks for a continuous harvest all summer long. For best taste, harvest the leaves when they are 2–3 inches long. This lettuce was a special request from Alice Waters to have grown in the White House garden.

Information

Other names: Rugula, Rocket
Translations: Ρόκα, جرجير, Rukolou, Рукола, Roquette, ルッコラ, Rukolom, Rucola, Rukolou, Rucola, Rukolą, Руккола, Rucola, ארוגולה, Rúcula, Rúcula, 芝麻菜, Аругула, Rucola, Rúcula, Рукола

Physical Description

Arugula is green green that can be good for almost any salad. It contains less calories and rich in Vitamins A and C. The leaves is shaped like a see grass with white highlights in the middle.

Colors: green

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Arugula has a peppery bite to it.
Food complements: Salads, Vegetables, Meats
Wine complements: Red wine, White wine
Substitutes: Watercress, Baby spinach leaves, Belgian endive

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Look for leaves that are dark green, crisp with no signs of discoloration at the tips of the leaves. (Yellowed leaves means the arugula is old; the fragrance will be gone and taste will have faded.)
Procuring: Arugula is one of those great, simple greens to grow at home. Sow the seeds in a sunny location in succession plantings (approximately every 20 to 30 days) from early spring to fall.

Arugula performs best in spring to early summer. After that time, plant it under the shade of an "airy" tree (not dense shade), or under shade cloth. It is not fussy at all, although too much drought and summer heat will cause the leaves to be smaller and more "peppery".

This plant does go to "seed" fairly quickly. But use the flowers in your salads and collect seeds for future plantings. And if you make your "succession" plantings, then the new plants will be ready as the older plants are going to seed.

Preparation and Use

Cleaning: When ready to use, take as many stems as you need, discard the roots and about half of the stem. Wash under running water then use as recipe directs. If using an entire bunch of arugula, cut off the roots and stems and discard. Place the bunch of arugula in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes or until the grit has settled to the bottom of the bowl. Drain the arugula in a colander and rinse the leaves again under cold running water.

Conserving and Storing

Wrap the unwashed bunch of arugula in a double layer of dry paper towels and place in a plastic Zip-Lock bag and seal tightly. Place in the vegetable compartment in the refrigerator. The paper towels will keep excess moisture away from the arugula. Stored in this manner, arugula will keep for 7 to 10 days without wilting or discoloring.

Social/Political

History: In Roman times Arugula was grown for both it's leaves and the seed. The seed was used for flavoring oils. On another interesting note, Rocket or Arugula seed has been used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac concoctions dating back to the first century, AD. (Cambridge World History of Food).

Part of a typical Roman meal was to offer a salad of greens, frequently Arugula ( spelled Arugola), romaine, chicory, mallow and lavender and seasoned with a "cheese sauce for lettuce"

Author

Anonymous

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