SALADSHARE #4 Rocket
Rocket (Eruca vesicaria spp. sativa), also known as arugula, roquette, and rucola among its many other names, is an annual plant from the Brassica family. Rocket is native to the Mediterranean and has been cultivated there since Roman times. In the UK it has been grown since Elizabethan times.
Rocket is grown for its strong pungent flavour, not as strong though as its relatives – the mustard greens. Rocket flowers and seeds are edible too. As the leaves mature, they tend to get more peppery in flavour.
Rocket leaves have a high nutritional value when eaten fresh, steamed or quickly boiled. They are a rich source of folate, vitamin A, C and K, and some minerals such as calcium, magnesium and manganese.
Rocket leaves on their own are too strong, so they are best mixed in with other salad leaves. They can also be sprinkled on pizza just after baking, or wilted into pasta, after you drain it and dress it with olive oil. Rocket can be used as a replacement for basil in making pesto, but you’ll want to add much less of it.
Wild rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) also known as 'Perennial' rocket has narrower, more deeply divided, aromatic leaves than the annual variety of Rocket.
Unlike salad rocket, which can become bitter with age wild rocket has a sharper, almost lemony peppery flavour.
It is packed with nutrients including calcium and vitamin K. It also contains some iron, folate, magnesium, potassium and beneficial phytonutrients