Roquette / Arugula

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100 g
500 g
1 kg
5 kg
Arugula: The Versatile Green

Arugula: The Versatile Green

Arugula is an aromatic, peppery-flavoured salad green that is typical in Italian cuisine. It's unique flavour can be used in either cold or hot recipes. Also known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola, it is It's peppery essence and mustard quality giving it a strong, spicy complex flavour that distinguishes arugula from other herbs and leafy greens. It adds a zesty accent in salads. Tender rounded leaves inject peppery pizzazz to mixed salads. Can also be enjoyed as a salad soloist, simply accompanied by a vinaigrette dressing. Larger arugula leaves have a more mature flavour and thicker texture than their baby versions. Delicious topping on a homemade pizza, either raw or cooked, can also be added to soup, stew, salad, and sandwiches, to give a peppery and mildly spicy flavour. In Italy Arugula is used in soups, but cooked, it loses some of It's flavour and tends to get mushy. Many love Arugula in salads, a snack or cut up with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and basil with balsamic dressing. Yummy! Add arugula chopped fine to a grilled cheese sandwich and it will take it to a whole new level. Add arugula to hot pizza and serve when wilted. Toss arugula with shaved Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette for peppery salad. Stir whole leaves into red lentil soup at the end of cooking and serve when they have just wilted. Puree arugula, pine nuts, a little garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper and you have arugula pesto. With It's peppery and slightly bitter flavour, arugula is a terrific green to throw into an otherwise boring salad.

Origins

Arugula, also known as salad rocket or garden rocket, is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region, specifically from the areas of Morocco, Portugal, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Scientific and Other Names

  • Scientific name: Eruca sativa
  • Other names: Salad rocket, garden rocket, roquette, rugula

Characteristics and Features

Arugula belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. It has a peppery taste and a mustard-like flavor, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Its smell is reminiscent of nuts, and its leaves are lobed with an elongated shape. Arugula leaves can vary in size, with some varieties having small leaves and others having larger ones. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, and potassium. One cup of arugula contains about 5 calories.

Usage

  • Arugula is commonly used in salads, either as a standalone ingredient or mixed with other greens.
  • It can also be used in sandwiches and wraps as a fresh and flavorful addition.
  • Arugula can be added to pasta dishes or used as a pizza topping for an added burst of flavor.
  • It can be sautéed or added to soups for a nutritious boost.

Storage

Arugula is a delicate leafy green that requires proper storage to maintain its freshness and quality. Here are some tips on how to store arugula:

  • Remove any damaged or wilted leaves before storing.
  • Place the arugula in a plastic bag or an airtight container.
  • Store the arugula in the refrigerator's crisper drawer or in a section of the fridge where the temperature is between 32-40°F (0-4°C).
  • Keep the arugula away from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, and tomatoes as they can cause the arugula to spoil faster.
  • For best results, use the arugula within 2-3 days of purchase.

Proper storage can help to maintain the arugula's freshness and flavor, ensuring that it stays delicious for longer.

Ethylene Sensitivity and Production

Ethylene is a natural gas that is produced by some fruits and vegetables as they ripen. Exposure to ethylene can cause arugula to wilt and spoil faster, so it's important to keep it away from ethylene-producing produce when storing it.

Arugula is not a significant producer of ethylene gas, so it can be stored with other non-ethylene producing vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and lettuce.

Brix Value

Brix is a measure of the sugar content in a fruit or vegetable. It is often used to determine the ripeness and quality of produce. The brix value of arugula is relatively low, usually ranging between 0.5-2.5. This means that arugula is not particularly sweet, but it does contain some natural sugars.

Arugula is harvested when it is young and tender, so it doesn't need to ripen like some fruits and vegetables. Instead, look for arugula that is fresh and crisp, indicating that it was recently harvested.

How to Check for Quality and Ripeness

When selecting arugula, look for leaves that are crisp, bright green, and free of any yellow or brown spots. The leaves should also have a fresh, peppery smell. Avoid any arugula that looks wilted, slimy, or has an off smell.

Arugula is harvested when it is young and tender, so it doesn't need to ripen like some fruits and vegetables. Instead, look for arugula that is fresh and crisp, indicating that it was recently harvested.

Did You Know That?

  • Arugula is also known as rocket or roquette, particularly in the United Kingdom and Europe.
  • Arugula is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
  • Arugula has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient times, and is believed to have a variety of health benefits.
  • Arugula has a long history of use in Italian cuisine, and is often used in salads, pasta dishes, and on top of pizza.
  • Arugula is a cool-weather crop that grows best in temperatures between 45-65°F (7-18°C).

Preparation

Arugula is a versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Here are some tips on how to prepare it:

Washing

Before using arugula, it should be washed thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. To wash arugula, follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water.
  2. Place the arugula in the water and swish it around gently to remove any dirt.
  3. Remove the arugula from the water and transfer it to a colander to drain.
  4. Pat the arugula dry with a clean towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess water.

Cooking

Arugula can be enjoyed raw or cooked, depending on personal preference. Here are some ideas for cooking arugula:

  • Sautéed: Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the arugula and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Grilled: Toss arugula with olive oil and grill over medium heat until wilted and lightly charred, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Roasted: Toss arugula with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in a preheated oven at 425°F for 5-10 minutes, until crispy.
  • Pesto: Make a delicious pesto by combining arugula, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth and serve over pasta or as a spread for sandwiches.

Recipes

Arugula can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to pizzas to pastas. Here are some recipes to try:

Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, parmesan cheese, sliced almonds, and dried cranberries.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately.

Arugula and Pear Salad

A fresh and tasty arugula salad with sweet pears and crunchy walnuts.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of arugula
  • 2 pears, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine arugula, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately.

Arugula and Ricotta Pasta

A creamy pasta dish with a kick of arugula flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. of pasta
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of pasta water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add arugula to the skillet and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese until melted and well combined.
  5. Add cooked pasta and reserved pasta water to the skillet and toss until well coated.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Nutrient Amount per 100g % Daily Value
Calories 25 1.25%
Total Fat 0.66g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.091g 0.45%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.338g -
Monounsaturated Fat 0.034g -
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 27mg 1.13%
Potassium 369mg 10.54%
Total Carbohydrate 3.65g 1.22%
Dietary Fiber 1.6g 6.4%
Sugars 1.29g -
Protein 2.58g 5.16%
Vitamin A 2373IU 47.46%
Vitamin C 15mg 25%
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 0.43mg 2.87%
Vitamin K 108.6µg 135.75%
Calcium 160mg 16%
Iron 1.46mg 8.11%
Magnesium 47mg 11.75%
Phosphorus 52mg 5.2%
Potassium 369mg 10.54%
Sodium 27mg 1.13%
Zinc 0.47mg 3.13%

Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Conclusion

Arugula is a nutritious and versatile leafy green that can add flavor and depth to any dish. Whether you're using it as a base for a salad or as a topping on a pizza, arugula's peppery taste and unique texture make it a favorite among many. With its impressive nutrient profile and potential health benefits, arugula is a great addition to any diet. And with its easy-to-store and easy-to-prep characteristics, it's a convenient choice for busy cooks. So next time you're looking to add some greens to your plate, consider giving arugula a try!

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