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Grazia arugula is a wild variety of the leafy herb. It has thin, deeply lobed leaves, common to the wild varieties, growing in spirals around a central stem. The stems are light green and long, yet the plant is more compact than other wild varieties. Grazia arugula produces yellow flowers atop a long central stem in the early summer, in contrast to the white flowers of garden arugula. Grazia arugula has a fiery, nutty flavor. This variety has a longer season than most of the wild varieties due to its ability to withstand hotter temperatures.
Grazia arugula is available in the spring and through the summer months.
Grazia arugula is a considered an “improved” variety of Wild arugula, or Wild Rocket, developed for specific characteristics like slow-bolting and a longer shelf-life. Wild arugula is often referred to as sylvetta or as a ‘sylvetta-type’ which likely comes from “rucola selvatica,” which is Italian for wild rocket. Grazia arugula is botanically classified as Diplotaxis tenuifolia. The aromatic herb is a perennial, whereas garden arugula is typically grown as an annual.
Grazia arugula, like other varieties of wild arugula, is a good source of folic acid, calcium and iron. It also contains vitamin C and beta-carotene. The nutritionally-packed leafy herb also contains phytochemicals like those found in broccoli and cabbage, which have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.
The peppery flavor of Grazia arugula makes a nice addition to green salads, and pairs well with beets goat or blue cheeses. Add Grazia arugula to hot or cold sandwiches as an alternative to green leafy lettuce. Toss Grazia arugula with freshly cooked linguine with garlic and cherry tomatoes. Sauteeing Grazia arugula will lessen its spicy flavor. Grazia arugula has a longer shelf-life than any variety of wild arugula. Store fresh leaves unwashed in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to ten days.
Wild arugula has been used since ancient times and was a component of typical Roman salad, along with chicory, romaine and lavender. Wild arugula was a primary leafy vegetable for many people living in the northern Mediterranean region.
Grazia arugula is a relatively new variety of wild arugula. Native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa, wild arugula can be found growing in meadows and fields, or in some man-made environments – hence the nickname, “perennial wall rocket.” The herb was introduced to North and South America and Australia, and has become naturalized on those continents. Grazia arugula grows well in both cold and warm climates, and keeps well after harvest, two characteristics that make it stand out from other wild arugula varieties. It is also one of the few wild arugula varieties that can grow in semi-humid environments.