Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dear Arugula...

This month's blog party is hosted by Darcey and has "Spring Greens" for theme. I'm very much into arugula lately so it seemed an obvious and natural choice.

Arugula is also known as rucola, rocket or roquette (in french).

When people think of arugula, they often have the typical Italian Summer salad in mind with tomato, basil...etc. But arugula belongs to the Spring. It's a green that is now widely available since it has become popular and most people are now familiar with it.

But what most people don't know is that arugula was and still is a wild green. Wild arugula (Rucola Selvatica) is commonly found on the side of trails or waste lands...Places you wouldn't think of going foraging.

Wild Arugula doesn't look like the cultivated one (Eruca Sativa) : it's smaller and has more dented leaves. It also takes longer to grow (there are many places that sell the seeds which are fairly easy to grow, even in a container). I find its taste sharper, more spicy and peppery ;).

We often forget that beyond the natural vitamin and mineral content of what we eat, food is also our medicine...And arugula is no exception: it's very rich in vitamin C, sulfur and minerals. Arugula is a tonic and stimulates appetite. It's a diuretic and cleanses the kidneys. It has expectorant properties and helps to break mucus down. Arugula juice cleanses wounds and ulcers. For a long time, it was believed that arugula was an aphrodisiac...This was the reason why Hildegard von Bingen forbade its consumption to her fellow nuns.

Whatever your reason is to use arugula (from the ones mentioned above) and besides its edible use, a decoction of the leaves can be made using 1 tbsp of dried leaves per cup of water, steeped for 2 minutes. The recommended dosage is 2 to 3 cups of this decoction per day.

Did I mention that the flowers are edible too?

Translations from "Sauvages et comestibles - Herbes, fleurs et petites salades" by Marie-Claude Paume and "Secrets des Plantes" by Michel Pierre & Michel Lis.


Rosalee de la Foret said...

Great post! Arugula was the first local greens to show up in the markets here and we have been gobbling it up. I learned a lot from your post. Thanks!

Alchemille said...

You are very welcome Rosalee ;).

TheCrone said...

I love rocket! I bought a small pot and planted it in the hope that it will go to seed and I will have an endless supply of this delicious green.

Busy checking out the rest of your blog now :)



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