Arugula are green leaves with a pale soft green stem. At young age the leaves can be harvested and mild in flavor or when completely matured at 3 or 4 inches in length. Arugula is mustard in flavor. Arugula leaves when gets matured, becomes bitter in taste. The sharp flavor of arugula is because of its high content of sulfur containing compounds known as glucosinolates.
Arugula is available thorough out the year.
(summer and early fall in New England)
Arugula is known as Eruca sativa in science belongs to mustard or Brassicaceae family along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mustard, radish and collard greens. Also regarded as salad rocket, roquette, Italian cress and rucola, both the leaves and flowers of this annual herb are edible and most commonly used today as a salad green.
Arugula is full of nutrients rich with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, copper, iron, zinc, folate and potassium. Vegetables such as arugula are full of antioxidant phytochemicals and rich in sulfur containing compounds known as glucosinolates which have been shown to have detoxifying properties and may be helpful in the prevention of certain types of cancer.
In the cooking world arugula is used as herb, a salad green and even a leaf vegetable. It is used both raw and cooked, though cooking will give the leaves a milder flavor. Can be used as pizza topping. Combine with other greens to spice up a salad. Used with spinach in omelets and quiche. In the Gulf of Naples on the island of Ischia arugula is made into a liqueur known as Rucolino. The sharp flavor of arugula pairs well with citrus, roasted beets, pears, pine nuts, olives, tomato and robust cheeses such as goat, blue and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Arugula is used as both a food and medicine. In ancient Rome and Egypt consumption of arugula leaves and seeds were associated with aphrodisiac properties. In India the leaves of arugula are not commonly used however the seeds of the plant are pressed to produce oil known as taramira that is used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.
Native to the Mediterranean region, arugula flowers and leaves were popular ingredients in the cuisines of Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Turkey. Arugula was taken to America by British colonists but it was not until the 1990’s that arugula was known as a popular culinary ingredient in the United States. Arugula found in moderate to cool climates, too much heat will cause it harm and produces a bitter flavor on the leaves. It can grow on dry land and wet soil alike. Arugula's spicy aroma and flavor make it naturally resistant to pests.