This Meatless Monday, we feature arugula, with growing, storage and prep tips, as well as recipes for Arugula Pasta and Lemony Arugula Salad from Vermont Fresh: A Fruit and Vegetable Handbook.
Arugula, also known as rugula, rucola, roquette, and garden rocket, is a leafy green with a flavor often described as “peppery” or “mustardy.” Native to the Mediterranean region, arugula is thought to have been enjoyed long ago by the Romans, who used the seeds for flavoring as well as eating the leaves. Arugula remains popular in Italian cuisine and is now cultivated in other temperate regions around the globe. Commonly found mixed into salads with other raw greens, arugula can also be lightly cooked. Because arugula is fairly hardy, it is often one of the first greens available in the spring. Although the green enjoys a somewhat upscale reputation, it is easy to grow and is often reasonably priced at farm stands and markets.
Arugula is relatively cold-tolerant and grows best from spring to mid-summer. Heat can cause the leaves to be smaller and spicier. Direct-sow seeds in mid-spring, barely covering them with soil. Keep well watered. Leaves will be ready to harvest in only about a month! Floating row cover is very useful when growing arugula, which is very prone to attack by flea beetles (who will eat tiny holes in