It’s a good mantra since I have plenty of it. Several years ago in the early spring I planted some in a bed with other spicy mustard greens that I let go to seed. Now it’s everywhere. A more prudent gardener might tell you that arugula is a cool weather crop, but I’m here to tell you that we eat it most of the year. The greens absolutely do get spicier with age and with the heat but it’s nothing that can’t be tamed by mixing it modestly in a good salad, blending it into a pesto, or pairing it with something sweet. Like any green I’ll cook the older leaves as they tend to be tough: wilt them with a bit of garlic and olive oil, or turn them into a fabulous soup. Check out my recipe page here, I’ve posted some ideas in the links. I also find cheese or yogurt in my arugula dishes will mellow out the spice.
Yesterday was exciting because I harvested the first flowers from plants that we overwintered in the greenhouse. They are beautiful and so tasty; peppery and slightly sweet.
These ones I ate while I finished harvesting the others that I used to decorate our salad at dinner. This year I intend for all of our salads to not only be many shades of green, but also all the colors of the rainbow.
Don’t go thinking you have to limit yourself to salads, these blossoms are a beautiful addition to a variety of dishes. Cover your quiches in them or other egg dishes, top your flat breads and toasts, when it gets a little warmer and you are outside with the grill you can throw them on your veggies, seafood, and burgers.
I never wash the delicate arugula blossoms, I just dust off the dirt and check for bugs. I also pick only what I need for a meal but for the sake of this blog I thought about how to store arugula flowers. My advice is still to pick as needed because they simply won’t keep for long. But if you must, store them with the stalk in a sealed plastic bag. Lightly dampen a paper towel to put inside the bag with them to keep them moist. Alternatively, put the stocks in a glass of water and store in the refrigerator.
On a final note, eating your arugula flowers is an important step to preventing their carefree spread throughout the rest of your garden beds. Some of you, like me, might be okay with that. If you aren’t then be sure to eat all your flowers! It is not only good for you but an important step in mitigating their self seeding efforts. Sure you could just pull them at that point, but where is the fun in that?