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Wild Surrey Arugula
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Surrey arugula is defined by its jagged deep lobed leaves and strong peppery and mustard like nuances. It is similar in appearance and flavor to its parent plant, wild arugula, yet it grows more upright and is more stout in its thickness.
Surrey arugula is available summer through fall.
Surrey arugula is a cross between Astro arugula and Wild arugula, taking the best from both and offering a quick growing plant that reduces risk of disease.
Use Surrey arugula as an herb or a salad green. It has a more peppery flavor than Baby arugula, and can be wilted, cooked or eaten raw. Add Surrey arugula leaves to hot, cooked pasta, toss with parmesan cheese and mix until arugula is wilted. Combine Surrey arugula, shaved manchego, marcona almonds and a quince membrillo dressing for a Spanish salad. Puree Surrey arugula with garlic, pine nuts, pecorino and olive oil until combine then spread pesto on sandwiches or fresh pasta. Use herb arugula within a week of purchase and keep dry and refrigerated.
Mention of arugula can be found in several religious texts, in 2 Kings in the Bible it is referred to as oroth and in Jewish texts such as the Mishna and Talmud that date back to the first through fifth century AD. Arugula is noted for its use as both a food and medicine. In ancient Rome and Egypt consumption of arugula leaves and seeds were associated with aphrodisiac properties. In India the leaves of arugula are not commonly used however the seeds of the plant are pressed to produce oil known as taramira that is used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.
Surrey arugula gets its namesake from Surrey, England, an historic county just southwest of London. Arugula has long been cultivated in Southern Europe and Italy and as early as the 19th century it has been naturalized in North America. Most variations on the name for Wild arugula can be traced back to the Latin word eruca, which means a certain type of cabbage. In German, rauke or Italian rucola, this member of the Brassicaceae, or mustard family, is native to Italy. Wild arugula has been cultivated since the time of Roman antiquity. Italians immigrating to America brought over rucola as a culinary herb and the term was Americanized as ‘arugula’. Wild arugula is difficult to cultivate; it still most often grows wild in Italy and Southern and Central Europe. In the US, Wild arugula is grown by some smaller farms and occasionally appears at local farmers markets.