Arugula has rich peppery taste and is unusually strong for a leafy green. It’s harvested in Georgia every month but the hot ones, July and August. Depending on the state of the seed/plant, you can plant it year round, too. Click on our Planting Calendar for more specifics.
It is rich in vitamins A & C and potassium, and some folks say it might be an aphrodisiac.
Before the 1990s, it was not cultivated on a large scale. In addition to the leaves, the flowers (often used in salads as an edible garnish), young seed pods, and mature seeds are all edible. It is generally used in salads but also cooked as a vegetable with pasta sauces or meats
A 1/2 cup serving is two calories. This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese. More on its nutrition, courtesy of NutritionData.com
- Virginia Willis’ Arugla with Roasted Pears and Goat Cheese recipe
- Cumming, Ga.-based Cane Creek Farm posted this PDF newsletter with a recipe for argula pesto.
Grow Arugula At Home
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.
To harvest simply pick the young leaves and the plant will keep generating new ones for months. Older leaves are a bit tougher and hotter. The flowers are small, white with dark centers and can be used in the salad for a light piquant flavor.
How To Store
Rinse the leaves in cool water and dry on paper toweling. Wrap leaves tightly in plastic or a zip lock bag. Best if used within two days.
Sources: Wikipedia, Gourmet Sleuth, Cane Creek Farm.