Region of Origin

Commodity:

Arugula

Origin

Arugula is a salad green in the same plant family as mustards and cabbages. It has elongated, distinctly shaped dull green leaves celebrated for their pleasant bitter, peppery flavor with hints of spicy mustard. It is most often enjoyed when young as a salad green, but the older leaves can be cooked as a leafy green.

Arugula is native to the Mediterranean basin and has been harveste...

Other Names

Rucola (Italy), Rocket (Britain), Roquette (France), Roka (Turkey), Jarjeer (Arabic)

Health Benefits & Nutrition

Arugula, which is a member of the highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable plant family, is rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that are thought to lower the risk of chronic disease. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium. According to the Aggregate Nutritional Density Index, arugula is one of the top ten most nutrient dense foods on the planet.

Varieties

Arugula

Description

Arugula has elongated leaves approximately 4-8 inches long that can have rounded lobes or more angular lobes depending on the cultivar. Their flavor is pungent and peppery.

Variety Tips & Tricks

Arugula leaves are more mature than those of baby arugula, and best suited for use in pesto, sauces, or pastas – but they’re still tender enough to use in salads. They are generally sold in bunches that may be sandy. Wash thoroughly before use to prevent grittiness.

Commercial Availability (Grown for the US Market)

Jan
Feb
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Apr
May
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Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
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Dec
USA (NJ)
Fair
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Fair
USA (TX)
Good
Good
Good
Fair
Good
Good

Baby Arugula

Description

Baby arugula is harvested when very young. The tender leaves are petite, about 2-3 inches long, with rounded lobes. The flavor is nutty and vegetal, with mild peppery flavors that are less intense than in the mature leaves. While some arugula marketed as “baby arugula” may be considered a “wild arugula” variety botanically, large-scale commercial production of wild arugula seeds yields a product that is less delicate and fragile than true wild arugula, therefore we consider it part of the baby arugula category.

Variety Tips & Tricks

While baby arugula is most often used as a salad green, it can also be added to pizzas, sandwiches, or soups. It doesn’t hold up as well as the mature leaves in pastas or pesto. Baby arugula is usually sold triple-washed and ready to use out of the bag, making it particularly useful when looking for options that reduce prep time.

Commercial Availability (Grown for the US Market)

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
USA
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good

Wild Arugula

Description

Wild arugula has a more intense pepper flavor and stronger aroma than regular arugula. The dark green leaves are petite with long, slender lobes that give them a delicate appearance.

Variety Tips & Tricks

Wild arugula is notoriously difficult to grow and harvest. It is not often grown commercially, but can be found sporadically offered by specialty growers. Wild arugula should be handled carefully and used immediately, as it is highly perishable.

Commercial Availability (Grown for the US Market)

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
USA
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair

Foodservice Tips

Traditional Culinary Uses

Arugula is most often used when it is very young and tender, with petite leaves. At this stage, it is best served raw in salads, or used to top pizzas, sandwiches, proteins, or soups. Its peppery flavor is especially will suited to pairing with salty, oily meats or cheeses like salami, prosciutto, or parmesan. Larger, more mature leaves may be quickly tossed with pasta or into risottos after cooking. They may also be blanched and used to make a refreshing, peppery pesto.

Flavor Pairings

Fig, Peach, Strawberry, Watermelon, Lemon, Red Onion, Tomato, Artichoke, Parsley, Mint, Almond, Walnut, White Beans, Pasta, Farro, Goat Cheese, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Egg, Tuna, Beef, Cured Meats, Pork Sausage

How to Store & Use in the Kitchen

If arugula is prewashed, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator – or at least ensure that the original bag is fully sealed to prevent moisture loss. If not pre-washed, wash, dry, wrap in a damp paper towel, and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

 

Only remove as much as is needed from the refrigerator at a time. Wilted arugula can sometimes be revived by soaking in cold water.

Fight Food Waste Tips for root to stem cooking

The entire arugula leaf is edible – even the flower is edible and has a wonderful peppery flavor. Arugula that has started to wilt can be preserved in pesto or frozen in olive oil.

Warehouse Storage & Handling

Maintain these conditions for optimal short-term storage shelf life.*

IDEAL STORAGE TEMP:

32-36°F

RECOMMENDED TEMP STORAGE ZONE:

32-39°F (Cold Storage)

SUBJECT TO CHILLING INJURY:

No – arugula should be stored as cold as possible without freezing.

RELATIVE HUMIDITY:

90-98%

PRODUCES ETHYLENE:

No

SENSITIVE TO ETHYLENE:

Yes-High

ETHYLENE RECOMMENDATIONS:

Arugula is highly sensitive to ethylene. Exposure can quickly cause yellowing. Do not store near ethylene-producing items.

Quality Assessment

Arugula should be dull green and crisp. Leaves should be free of decay or black spotting. Yellowing should be minimal, although there are times when some small degree of yellowing is inevitable.

Important Handling Notes

Arugula is very sensitive to ethylene and temperature fluctuations. Store as close to 32°F as possible at all times and NEVER store near ethylene-producing items.

Optimum Shelf Life

Depending on variety, conditions at harvest, and handling, arugula may last up to 7-10 days.

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