Arugula (Eruca sativa) or rocket is an annual herb of the mustard family (Brassicaceae).
Some additional names are “rocket salad”, “rucola”, “rucoli”, “rugula”, “colewort”, and “roquette.”
It is grown for its pungent edible leaves.
Arugula was mentioned in the Old Testament Book of Kings (II Kings 4:39); although it was mentioned under different name. It was called Oroth, but historians believe that arugula is the biblical green that is referred with such.
In Jewish holy writings, specifically from Talmud & Mishna, arugula has also been mentioned.
Arugula was grown as an edible herb in the Mediterranean area since Roman times. It was grown for both it’s leaves and the seed. These writings have been around since the first century AD.
It was popular all throughout Europe including Britain during the Middle Ages.
European settlers brought the plant to the Americas.
In United States of Arugula, which was documented by David Kamp, the author has explored the modern history of the use of arugula. Based on his findings, at one point, the popularity of this herb rivaled that of free-range chickens, heirloom tomatoes, and artisanal cheeses.
Today, arugula is a common salad vegetable in many parts of the world.
The plant grows 20–100 centimeters (8–39 in) in height. The pinnate leaves have four to ten small, deep, lateral lobes and a large terminal lobe.
The white four-petaled flowers have purple veins and are borne in loose clusters. They produce thick, flat-beaked seed capsules known as siliques. A spicy oil can be extracted from the seeds and has applications in folk medicine.
Arugula has a peppery, pungent, mildly bitter or acrid flavour.
There are only 25 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of arugula.
Arugula is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. It is also a good source of protein, riboflavin, thiamin, zinc, vitamin B6, copper and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
The health benefits of arugula include diabetes management, osteoporosis prevention, cardiovascular health, prevention of cancer, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve digestion aid weight loss, good for bone health, helps reduce inflammation in the body and protects the aging brain from cognitive decline.
It is often used with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
In the Slovenian Littoral, it is often combined with boiled potatoes, used in a soup, or served with the cheese burek.
A sweet, peppery digestive alcohol called rucolino is made from rocket on the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples.
Many people think that is the Italian name, but it isn’t. The Italian word is “rucola” or sometimes “rochetta”. “Arugula” is an English corruption of the word in some Italian dialect, perhaps from Lombardy where they call it “arigola.”
As for any salad green, you want bright green, crisp leaves as opposed to yellow or wilted ones.
Arugula typically grows on dry, disturbed ground and is also used as a food by the larvae of some moth species, including the garden carpet moth.