Think arugula is too bitter for your taste? There might actually be a good reason for that.
In this post, we’re going to explain why your arugula is so bitter. Additionally, we’ll be looking into what you can do about it and what arugula is supposed to taste like.
Quick Answer: Why is My Arugula so Bitter?
Truthfully, there are a couple reasons why your arugula could be bitter. The first reason is pretty straightforward: you just might not like the taste of arugula.
However, the second reason is a bit more complex. Arugula’s flavor changes depending on when you harvest it. It’s possible the arugula you’re eating was harvested at the wrong time.
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What is Arugula Supposed to Taste Like?
When it’s harvested appropriately, arugula has a pleasant taste. Most people find it spicy and peppery.
Because of its punchy taste, there are plenty who love to sprinkle it in salads. The flavor adds hot and lively notes to recipes that could be boring or lackluster for you.
Its taste is altered by cooking, though. Arugula becomes much milder in flavor when it’s been cooked, which is one of the reasons why some enjoy arugula soups.
Why Does Arugula Become Bitter?
We’ve said a couple times already that arugula becomes bitter when it’s not harvested at the right time. So what, exactly, is “the right time?”
To be honest, that depends on what your taste preference is. If you want your arugula to be mild without cooking it, you’ll want to harvest it sooner rather than later.
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In general, arugula gets more and more bitter the longer it grows. When you’re looking for a less bitter taste, think about picking the leaves when they’re anywhere from two to three inches in length.
If you want to pick the leaves at the sweet spot where most people enjoy it, pick it when the leaves are about four inches long.
You’ll know for sure your arugula is past the point of no return when it has bolted. Bolting means that it’s shot up stalks and begun to flower. Even the most dedicated arugula enthusiasts will tell you that you should steer clear of eating the leaves at this point in its life cycle.
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It’s true that arugula tastes bitter, and the biggest arugula fans actually love this bitterness.
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But that doesn’t mean it has to be so bitter, it’s completely unpalatable. Perhaps the greatest reason behind excessive bitterness is that it’s been harvested too late. If you’re willing to give arugula another try, then you’ll probably like it more if it’s younger. Either look for baby arugula greens in your local store or pick it when the leaves are smaller.
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