Garden rocket (also known as arugula, rucola and roquette) is one of the nutritious green-leafy vegetables of Mediterranean origin. It is a small, low growing annual herb featuring dandelion like succulent, elongated, lobular leaves with green-veins. It belongs within the Brassicaceae family similar to as mustard greens, cauliflower, kale, etc, and has the scientific name, Eruca sativa.
Rocket is a quick growing, cool season crop. It prefers well-drained, fertile soil, and full sunlight to flourish. It grows to about 1 metre in height with creamy-white edible flowers. Its leaves can be ready for harvest within 40 days of sowing the seed. Younger rocket leaves feature light green colour, and appear identical to that of spinach without lobulation. Additionally, young, tender leaves are less peppery and sweet in contrast to strong, spicy flavour of mature greens.
As all members of the Brassicaceae family, rocket leaves are rich sources of indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates. Together, these compounds have been found to counter carcinogenic effects of oestrogen and thus may offer protection against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. It is rich in folates, vitamins A, B complex, C and K, and contains copper and iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.
This post is part of the Friday Greens meme,
and also part of the Food Friday meme.