Rocket originated in southern and central Europe (where it is known as arugula or rucola). It is a hardy annual herb, but it self-sows and is likely to come up every year in your garden once you have planted it.
Planting tips :
- Choose a sunny spot, and make sure that the soil drains well. Dig up the soil well and work in a generous amount of compost the day before sowing. Water well and rake the soil even.
- Sow rocket seeds 1cm deep in rows 30cm apart. Water well and keep the soil moist to prevent the plant from going to seed too quickly.
- When the plants are about 15cm tall, thin them out and use the trimmed leaves in your salads.
- Pinch off the flowers and seed buds as soon as they appear – this will prolong your harvest of rocket leaves.
- The older the leaves, the more intense the flavour, so wait longer before harvesting if you’re after a very pepper flavour.
- Rocket adds an immediate tang when added to other salad leaves. Its flavour is described as peppery, nutty and spicy.
- Add rocket leaves to Italian pastas just before serving to add extra kick.
- For a more subdued flavour, try lightly steaming rocket and serving it as a substitute for spinach.
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