Fenton Friday: Italian Arugula vs. Heirloom Rustic Arugula

By Allison O'Reilly

This semester, I grew two different types of arugula in our community garden plot. Both of my arugula plants were successful, but the Italian Arugula grew to be more lush, sooner than the Heirloom Rustic Arugula. The weather has been unpredictable and all over the place since I planted my arugula seeds. I was definitely worried the harsh winds, storms, frosts, snowfalls, and random temperature spikes would harm or kill my arugula. But, the plants prevailed, I only had to re-seed once and I ended up with plenty of arugula to munch on.

I ate the Italian Arugula with Kathy and Kelly in a spinach-arugula salad last week. The salad had a sweet dressing and dried cranberries, so the peppery arugula made a nice added kick to it.
In order to compare the flavors of the two types of arugula, I chose to sauté them with bell peppers and zucchini. The two types tasted very similar, if not identical, in this format. The Heirloom Rustic Arugula has a weaker hint of pepper and the Italian Arugula had more of a bitter aftertaste, but other than that there were no noticeable differences.

I enjoyed eating the sautéed arugula more than the raw arugula. Arugula is a strong salad green and I found it to be a bit too harsh in the sweet salad. Sautéing the arugula heightened the flavor, and introducing warmth to the leaves made them gentler to eat.
How is your vegetable garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

About the Author:Allison O’Reilly is originally from Winston-Salem, NC, and is a sophomore majoring in journalism as well as government and politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. This spring semester, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

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