The Q&A Archives: Arugula

Question: I have arugula in my garden and need to know when it's ready to be picked. It currently has a stem with flower growing out of the center.

Answer: Arugula or Rocket salad (Eruca vesicaria sativa) is basically a cool season cutting green and can be grown as both a spring and fall crop. It really tastes best if harvested very young; the flavor gets stronger as the plant matures. To harvest, snip the leaves often beginning as soon as they are large enough to cut and leave the plant in place to continue growing. When the weather turns warm the leaves begin to taste bitter, and when the plants flower or "bolt" it's really the end of the season for arugula. Try some of the leaves now and if they are too bitter, do try it again in the fall. In any case, the flowers are edible and make a fun garnish for salad.

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