Nowadays, arugula is everywhere. You can find it in salads, burgers, pizzas, condiments, and in cooking oils. Its characteristic tart flavor makes it perfect for giving any dish a little kick.
But where does arugula come from? How did it explode in popularity? The story behind this pungent plant is actually quite intriguing.
In this quick post, we’ll give you the condensed version of arugula’s long and interesting history.
Quick Answer: Where Does Arugula Come From?
Arugula is native to the Mediterranean region. It has enjoyed fairly consistent popularity in Italy, Portugal, Morocco, and Turkey for a long time.
The History of Arugula
As mentioned above, arugula has its roots in the Mediterranean region. It has been frequently use in Italian dishes since ancient Roman times.
You can find evidence of this because it was described by quite a few Roman authors, like Virgil. In fact, a few of these authors described arugula has having aphrodisiac properties.
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These properties are why some people feel that arugula was banned from monasteries in the Middle Ages. Others from within that period sought to combat the aphrodisiac by mixing it in salads with lettuce. That's because lettuce was thought to be calming, counteracting arugula.
Interestingly, arugula has been mentioned in several religious texts over the years. It’s thought that the Bible verse II Kings 4:39 refers to the gathering of arugula.
So how did arugula come to be widely used? It came to the United States along with colonists originally. It would not become well-known until the 90’s, however.
Common Uses for Arugula.
Arugula is primarily used for culinary purposes.
For instance, it’s been mixed in raw with salads for hundreds of years. If salads aren’t your speed, though, there are tons of other ways to use arugula.
Some chefs add arugula to the top of a freshly baked pizza. Others use it to make a certain kind of Italian pasta dish.
It can even be used in soups or mixed into a condiment. When it comes to food, the sky is the limit with this flexible plant.
Although it’s typically limited to the kitchen, there are other ways to use arugula. The seeds are sometimes used to make an oil that has medicinal qualities.
We hope you’ve learned a lot about arugula that you hadn’t heard before. This plant has a surprisingly rich history. It’s been used in a handful of countries for hundreds of years.
Personally, we think it’s fascinating how it’s been written about in so many ancient or religious texts. It’s clear that this food has been important to people for centuries.
We expect to see arugula used in the kitchen for centuries to come.Want to learn more about arugula? Why not read about how it grows here?