How To Use Arugula From Your Garden

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Patsy Bell Hobson is blogging at When not in the garden or on the road, you can find her in southern Missouri. Read more of her travel stories at Striped Pot TravelFind more garden, travel and random rants on her Facebook page. 

My neighbor came over this morning and said, “OK, Patsy Bell, I grew arugula. How do I use it?” Here’s what I had to tell my neighbor.

The English call it rocket; the French call it roquette, from the Italian rochetta. Native to the Mediterranean, arugula is a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae). Its peppery mustard flavor makes it a favorite of mine in salads and mesclun mixes. I also use it in lettuce and cold pasta salads. In Italy, it is used as a pizza topping. 

Add arugula to any summer salad.
Photo courtesy Renee’s Garden.

Pick the leaves while young. The flavor gets stronger as the leaves get older and larger. Home gardeners have the advantage with arugula because it is quite perishable. Arugula is used fresh or steamed in the way you might use spinach. Keep it close to the kitchen, so you can easily pick a few leaves for sandwich greens or add a bit to homemade pesto and salad dressings.

Arugula is slower to bolt than spinach.
Add to pasta salads or homemade pesto.
courtesy Renee’s Garden

Rich in nutrients, such as iron and vitamins A and C, and low in calories, your culinary imagination is its only limit in the kitchen. Because arugula is so versatile and comes in many varieties, don’t limit yourself to one variety or package of seed. 

Arugula is said to have aphrodisiac powers. I’d like to know what you think about that.

Arugula is ideal for succession planting.
courtesy Renee’s Garden

Seed Packet Giveaway

Renee’s Garden is giving away three seed packets of Italian arugula. “Luscious tangy leaves with a nutty zip are easy to grow,” according to Renee’s website.


• Post a comment in the comments section below telling us how you use arugula. Do you think it is an aphrodisiac?

• End date: July 2, 2011 (12:00 a.m. Central Time)UPDATE: Time’s up!

The winners have been contacted. They were chosen using Thanks to everyone who entered my Garden Giveaway! Watch out for even more giveaways. 

Good luck!

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