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Rocket – healthy seasoning for salads, pesto, and pizzas
The dandelion-like plant’s zesty spiciness is sure to impress. Rocket is just as delicious raw as it is cooked, and is a tasty ingredient in countless dishes and herb mixes.
Rocket is considered an uncomplicated and low-maintenance salad green. Growing it yourself is simple: as long as you regularly water it, you can grow rocket in a garden as well as in a window box on your balcony. You will have to wait about six weeks until you can harvest it. If you take care to avoid cutting the leaves too close to the ground, they will grow back. It is possible to harvest rocket two to three times over using this method.
The best planting conditions are between May to October. Rocket is rich in folic acid and contains Vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. On top of that, rocket has a mere 28 calories per 100 grams, which qualifies this crucifer family-member as a vital part of a balanced diet. If you like, you can easily store rocket in the freezer. All this requires is chopping up the leaves, filling them into containers, and freezing them. Entire leaves are not ideal for this, however, as these become mushy upon thawing.
|Calories||28 kcal per 100g|
|Nutrients||2.1g carbohydrate, 1.6g fibre, 0.7g fat, 2.6g protein per 100g|
|Season||available year-round imported from Italy or grown in local greenhouses; can be grown in local gardens during warm months; when grown outdoors, rocket season runs from May to October|
|Storage||store in cool location, ideally in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator; the plant stays especially fresh if you wrap it in a moist cloth|
|Shelf life||2-3 days|
Rocket, also known as “Rucola” in German, is originally from Italy. Meanwhile, people in the United States commonly refer to it as “arugula”. Rocket has been valued for its nutritious components since antiquity. Even so, the herb was more or less neglected for a long time. In the 1980s, Italian cuisine gained popularity and with it rose the trend of using rocket as a cooking ingredient. Whether grown in the wild or cultivated at home or commercially, this slightly spicy salad green has long since fully established its culinary status.
Perennial wall rocket, also known as “Wilde Rauke” in German-speaking countries, is seldom found in supermarkets and has a slightly darker hue than the regular rocket. It is also characterised by a noticeably more intense taste. Just like with all salad greens, rocket should be thoroughly washed before being used. Drying its leaves with a salad drainer or paper towel post-wash is important. And keep in mind – rocket has a very assertive taste.
Mustard oils are often responsible for salads’ spicy taste. Rockets slight spiciness is therefore the perfect complement to mixed salads that contain milder ingredients – iceberg lettuce, for example. If you are looking to go typically Italian, try combining rocket with mozzarella and tomatoes.
The general rule is: the smaller the rocket leaves, the milder their taste. Just like spiciness, the bitterness also decreases in direct proportion to the size of the leaves. Rocket is widely applicable when cooking, such as in these tasty examples:
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