Sunday, March 24, 2013

Picked the last huge bunches of arugula today and made pesto - so versatile and scrumptious - I love it's slightly bitter and nutty flavour in sandwiches, on pasta,in frittata or swirled into bean soup. Known in Latin as eruca, from the word for “harsh, rough,” the plant is a member of the mustard family. Native to the Mediterranean, it was an unruly weed that was foraged from the fields by the poor. Arugula and bread made a simple peasant meal. Rocket was sacred to Priapus, the Graeco-Roman god of fertility. Beds of the greens were planted around his statue. The leaf, the Roman author Columnella wrote, honored the deity: “Th’eruca, Priapus, near thee we sow, To arouse to duty husbands who are slow.” Source: In Brazil, where its use is widespread, arugula is eaten raw in salads. A popular combination is arugula mixed with mozzarella cheese (normally made out of buffalo milk) and sun-dried tomatoes. In Egypt the plant is commonly eaten with ful medames for breakfast, and regularly accompanies local seafood dishes. In West Asia and Northern India, arugula seeds are pressed to make taramira oil, used in pickling and (after aging to remove acridity) as a salad or cooking oil. Arugula is a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese. I love a salad made with Orange, Walnut, Gorgonzola and Mixed Greens with Fresh Citrus Vinaigrette~ Arugula can be planted in drier soil, and really does well with repeated cuttings even through the winter.

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