Season: February to November
Flavor: Arugula is a peppery, nutty salad green with a sharp and bitter bite, like watercress. Be on the lookout for firm leaves without any yellow or signs of mushiness. Mass-produced “baby” arugula in pre-washed sacks tends to be very mild. “Wild arugula” is another variety with lacier leaves and a more assertive flavor.
Storage: Store in a container or bag to preserve freshness. For arugula with the roots attached, wrap a moist towel around the roots and store in a bag. Store in vegetable drawer or crisper around 32 to 36 degrees F.
How to use: Bunched arugula is notoriously sandy. Remove the root ends and place leaves in a large bowl. Fill halfway with cold water. Lift arugula out of the bowl and discard sandy water. Repeat, until water is free of sand, three to four times.
If using arugula raw, make sure leaves are thoroughly dry, because wet arugula does not take to vinaigrette very well and quickly clumps up. The best way to do this is with a salad spinner.
Arugula can be eaten raw or cooked. Arugula is great in salads with other greens, oil and vinegar. Arugula can be lightly sautéed and added to pasta dishes, vegetable medleys, etc.
Nutrition: Arugula is rich in vitamin C and potassium