Season for Arugula Available Year Round
For as much criticism as Obama got for asking an Iowa crowd, "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?" he sure got this aromatic salad green out of its specialty obscurity and onto... Google! Also known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola, arugula has a rich, peppery and surprisingly strong flavor - not surprisingly it's related to mustard. Today we find arugula as a popular salad ingredient - often in mesclun mixes - and a trendy topping on pizzas or tossed with pastas or potatoes, among other things. In Roman times it was grown for both its leaves and the seed, the seed used for flavoring oils and as an ingredient in aphrodisiac concoctions.
How to Buy and Store Arugula
Arugula can be found in the produce section of most health food stores, specialty markets, and some supermarkets - and most favorably at your local farmers market. It's usually sold in small bunches, with the roots intact. Look for bright green, crisp leaves with no sign of wilting or browning, and fresh roots. Arugula is super perishable and should be tightly wrapped and refrigerated for no more than a couple of days, and not washed until you're ready to use it.
How to Cook Arugula
Arugula tends to hold onto a lot of grit, so it needs to be soaked and washed thoroughly just before preparing. Arugula is most nutritious in its raw form as a salad accoutrement. That said, cooking arugula has its advantages too. Some of its nutrients can be better absorbed when gently cooked - emphasis on the word 'gently'. Also, serve arugula with a little vegetable oil or other fat at times, as it's believed that certain compounds found in vegetables like arugula are actually better absorbed when cooked and eaten with a little fat. When adding arugula to fired-up dishes like soup and stews (and pizzas!), do so at the end.
Health Benefits of Arugula
Arugula is among the healthiest of salad greens. For its low calorie count, arugula is a great source of vitamins C and A and an even better source of vitamin K, which is important for healthy blood and bone health, and plentiful vitamin K may reduce your risk of heart disease. Arugula is also a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, helping to control blood pressure and preserve bone health, as well as a decent source of iron to build healthy red blood cells. The myriad of phytonutrients in arugula also make this an all-star leafy green, protecting the body from harm.Its health-inspiring phytochemicals cleanse the body of toxins and free radicals, helping keep communication between cells crystal clear.
Why Buy Natural and Organic Arugula
Like all leafy greens, arugula is prone to hold on to both dirt and pesticides - the same way it retains all those nutrients! The pesticides penetrate right into the greens' cells, so no amount of washing will get those chemicals off. Choose organic arugula to be sure it's been cultivated sans synthetics, using sustainable farming methods that safeguard the health of you, your family and our environment.