Arugula is a tender green that resembles a radish leaf and has an unusual spicy flavor. It is related to mustard greens and watercress.
When purchasing arugula, always select young, green leaves with attached roots, which keep the plant fresh in transit. Discard all but the leaves before preparing. Mature plants will be tougher and hotter with a prounounced bitter taste, but are commonly included in cooked dishes.
Arugula is fragile and will not remain fresh long (about two days), even in the refrigerator.
Like other greens, arugula is most nutritious when eaten raw and should be juiced or well-blended for optimal nutrient digestion and assimilation. Add it to a salad for a spicy kick.
Because of the pungent flavor, some prefer to mix it with milder greens. This nutty leaf is excellent on sandwiches or added to pizza just as you pull it from the oven. Try folding arugula into an omelet with some fontina cheese and tomato for a real breakfast treat.
Arugula helps stimulate the body's detoxifying processes and stimulates appetite and digestion.
Oil from the seeds is extracted and sold as "jamba oil", while sprouts may be available at some specialty markets.
And best of all, arugula contains only 2 calories per half cup! It's a nutritious freebie!