WHAT IS ARUGULA?
The anti-thesis to evil iceberg lettuce and a relative of the more evil broccoli. Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable. Often described as peppery or flavorful, it’s a great way to add flavor to an otherwise boring salad. Also known as rocket (it grows quickly), while Americans discovered this delicacy in the 90’s, Italians and French have used arugula for centuries! Sometimes mistaken for spinach, arugula has ridges and a much stronger flavor. This green is often used as a blend in a salad with 3 different types of lettuce.
WHY IS ARUGULA GOOD FOR YOU?
A very healthy alternative, arugula is rich in vitamins A,C,K and minerals calcium, copper, manganese and potassium. Also a good source of folic acid, this green is a great popular with those worried about cancer. It’s even good for your garden, its peppery flavor repelling pests which is why it’s often planted near other susceptible plants like parsley or basil.
WHEN IS ARUGULA IN SEASON?
Growing at “rocket-like” speeds (little over a month), arugula is a popular early Spring through late Fall harvest.
HOW SHOULD ARUGULA BE STORED?
Like other leafy greens, a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel will keep your arugual from drying out.
WHAT IS THE PROPER WAY TO SEASON ARUGULA?
Professional chefs don’t make a salad like most ordinary people. After thoroughly washing as salad (a must even if the greens have been pre-plucked), dry it just as thoroughly. A salad spinner is one of the more popular tools for this. Then season the dry lettuce leaves with a dry spice mix first. Then add your wet ingredients a.k.a. your dressing!
WAS ARUGULA AN APHRODISIAC IN ROMAN TIMES?
According to Pliny the Elder around 77 A.D., this leafy green was well known for both it’s sexual properties as well as an anesthetizing agent. The sexual part ironically doesn’t have so much to do with blood flow as with promoting bowel movements.