Rocket

You might also know this leafy veg as arugula.

Alternative Name

Arugala, colewort, eruca, roquette, rucola, rugula, arugula

Scientific Name

Eruca vesicaria

Health benefits

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Rocket is a leafy green with small dark leaves. It has a spicy, peppery, mustard-like flavour. It is mostly used in salads but can also be added to a pizza or tossed through a pasta before serving. Vinegar or citrus balance its flavour. Note that wild rocket is different from conventional rocket and has a stronger flavour.

Information for farmers+

Harvesting
Greens are harvested as individual leaves, leaf clusters, or whole plants, and should be young, tender and mild flavored. Plants that have flowered are usually too strong in flavour and tough in texture for use in raw salads, which must be fresh, tender and turgid, with no yellowing, decay, or insect or mechanical damage.

Postharvest storage temperature
Greens for salads should be cooled to 0°C as soon as possible after harvest. Vacuum-cooling is effective for removing field heat. Top icing can be used. Rocket salad typically lasts 7–10 days stored at 0–2°C with 95–100% relative humidity. It not sensitive to chilling and should be stored as cold as possible without freezing.

Controlled atmosphere storage
Controlled atmosphere is generally not beneficial. Modified atmosphere packaging is mostly beneficial for controlling relative humidity.

Ethylene sensitivity
Salad greens have very low ethylene production, but are highly sensitive to ethylene exposure, which typically results in loss of chlorophyll leading to yellowing of leaves.

Humidity storage
Rocket salad typically lasts 7–10 days stored at 0–2°C with 95–100% relative humidity.

Disease & infection
Low temperatures must be maintained throughout the cold chain to minimise pathological disorders and prolong shelf life. Salad greens are typically susceptible to the same bacterial soft rot and fungal decay as lettuce.

Preparation & Storage+
Keep in vegetable drawer of fridge.
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Veggy tip

Rocket is best eaten raw for nutrient content but can be stirred into risottos or warm salads. Younger leaves have a milder taste. If your leaves are too peppery, chop like herbs and use in salad.