The ruchet (or rughetta in some regions) or rocket, or even ruca (Eruca vesicaria (L.) Cav.), Is an annual herbaceous plant belonging to the Brassicaceae family (Cruciferae).
From a systematic point of view, the rocket belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, the Kingdom Plantae, the Tracheobionta Substitution, the Magnoliophyta Division, the Magnoliopsida Class, the Dilleniidae Subclass, the Capparales Order, the Brassicaceae Family and then the Eucalyptus Genus and the E. vesicaria Species.
The terms are synonymous: Eruca sativa Mill., Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa (P. Mill.) Thellung, Brassica eruca (L.), Eruca eruca (L.) Aschers & Graebn and Raphanus eruca (L.) Crantz.
The name of this genus derives from lat. ‘Erùca’, that is, caterpillar, which may in turn come from an ancient word Rùga (spanish oruga), named after a green caterpillar that ciba of the species of the brassicacee family, probably the pieride of cabbages. The specific term derives from the Latin vesicarius, -a, -um (vesicular) bladder, probably referring to the diuretic properties of this species.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The rocket is native to a rather large area ranging from the Mediterranean basin to Central-West Asia. It is still a species that fits well to many climates and is now also grown in other parts of the world. Its natural habitat is up to 800 m s.l.m., in fertile and sandy soils.
Ruchet is an annual herbaceous plant, high 20 to 80 cm, very aromatic and of spicy flavor, with ascending, generally branched and often reddened tops, which are glabrous or more or less pricked by the presence of simple hair . The leaves are petioles, glabrous, juicy and moderately fleshy, they are morphologically very variable, sinuated, loose-pennatifide to pennatosette. Their size varies up to 15 cm, the progressively reduced and subsidious upper, the bases often creased at the time of anthesis.
There is an inflorescence in multiflora raceme, stretching to fruition up to 50 cm. The chalice has 4 erect, brownish-violet and hardened sepals, which are generally persistent, with the outside edged (bottomed to the base), extended to the apex in a small croissant. The corolla is with four patented, white-yellow petals of 15-20 mm, veined with violet, largely obovate-spatulate, narrow in a long nail. The androcious is tetradinamo, with 6 stamens of which 4 are longer than the other 2.
The fruit of the rocket is an erect, glabrous or pride-like siliqua, attached to the stem, 2-3.5 cm long, surmounted by a compressed rostrum of 7-10 mm and dying in two valve with a very prominent center suture; The seeds are pearly, ellipsoid and flattened, ocher color.
For its morphological characteristics one can confuse the rocket with the genus Diplotaxis which has the same spicy aroma and the same properties. Kind of dryer environment with polymorphic but generally smaller leaves, and flowers almost always with yellow, oblong, much smaller, silique petals with very short and linear rostrum
The rocket is one of the most special salads because of its peculiar and slightly spicy flavor, making it ideal for cooking in the kitchen to give you a variety of recipes.
This leafy annual plant is very simple to cultivate and very productive, so it can be cultivated also in family gardens; It is also a rustic plant that can be enjoyed for much of the year and has a short crop cycle.
As far as climate and soil is concerned, the rocket is very adaptable, but as most plants fear frost, drought and water stagnation; Can be in any soil, he likes good organic matter presence.
The rocket can be sown from March to September, but with tunnel cultivation it is possible to extend the cultivation period and have salad almost all year round. The rocket seeds last for a long time (you can use it for 4 years). The rocket germs fast and has a rapid growth: one week after sowing you will see the seedlings sprout and soon you can pick the first leaves to put in salad, which are also the most tender.
As far as the sixth plant is concerned, the rocket can be sown safely on a spaghetti or file. Sowing is faster, seeds are thrown and then raked lightly to cover the ground, while the file has the advantage of better distribution of the plants, which remain well aired, in this case you have to keep 25 cm between The files and 5/10 cm between the seedlings. The seed is deeply buried (just one inch).
The rucola, being a little picky plant, also fits well in potted cultivation, does not have particular requirements in terms of soil and can also be in a small medium vessel. It is advisable not to sow the rocket on the balcony too thick, leaving room to wet the ground without irrigating directly on the leaves of the plant.
Interesting is the consociational aspect of the rocket, in fact this plant has no problems of consociaion and variation, it suits any other crop and can be close to any horticulture that leaves enough leaves for its leaves. It is better than always to make a rotation that avoids the rotation of the rocket with other plants of the same family, thus avoiding succession between rucola, cabbage and rapanelli and even with the Oriental brassica as mizuna and mibuna.
The rocket requires frequent irrigation after sowing and rooting of the seedlings, then if the rain does not intervene, it is a thick and slightly wet plant, it does not like large amounts of water, but it has to be wet frequently. Same philosophy to grow the rocket on the balcony, compared to the garden, however, potted cultivation needs even more regular water intake. The weeding that is going to aerate the soil is necessary, as well as keeping it clean from the weeds and the weed to prevent it from suffocating the plumage seedlings.
From the health point of view, the rocket smells the lichens louse lapping the rocket leaves and generally engage the crucifixes. Apart from these fleas of earth are quite resistant plants, even for their short cycle. If they are well-spaced they do not fear fungal diseases.
As for harvesting, the rocket leaves can be picked up right away, usually expecting the plant to reach 7-8 cm in height, cutting the leaves near the collar. Reap even 5-6 times and then continue to collect. Typically, the rocket is harvested from one month after sowing.
Uses and Traditions –
The Rucola is a kind of far-away Mediterranean-Turanic origin, cultivated since antiquity in the gardens of all Italy. Quite rarely, it also appears in the subordinate state in rather disturbed environments, especially in the dwellings. The Romans, who also consumed seeds, attributed magic qualities and used it as aphrodisiac. Cultivation was often carried out in the grounds that housed the phallic statues erected in honor of Priapo, god of virility. Ovid in the Ars Amatoria called her ‘eruca salax’ or ‘herba salax’, that is, luxuriant grass, not recommended in case of love disappointments. Pliny asserted: ‘It is believed that the desire for coitus is stimulated by foods, like the erupt …’. Dioscoride, a Greek physician, claimed that raw auburn abundantly ‘dwindled Venus’. Also during the Renaissance he wrote about the aphrodisiac effects of the rocket, and the herbalist Matthias de Lobel (XVI sec.) Talked of certain monks who excited by a friendly rucola, abandoned the vow of chastity. Spicy spicy seeds are used like those of mustard and in some countries it extracts a delicious food oil. The generic name is that used by the Romans and cited by various classical authors.
The rocket has been cultivated for centuries on the shores of the Mediterranean and used for as long as by people for the preparation of recipes and medication remedies.
Both the leaves and the seeds of the rumen besides being used by the Romans were common in Britain in the Elizabethan era. Today also in Italy is very commonly cultivated as a salad grass.
The leaves of the Eucalyptus vesicaria are used for culinary purposes and appreciated for their decided taste. Typical is the use of rocket salad as a side dish, and can also be used to make a pesto (pasta dressing). Seeds can also be used to replace mustard seeds in the home, or to obtain a pleasant taste oil.
It is an antiscorbutic herb (as the rocket has a good mineral content and is rich in vitamin C), stimulant, diuretic and rubeform, with high concentrations of nitrogenous substances giving it the characteristic spicy flavor. Flowers have similar, but more bland flavors, and are also used to garnish salads.
Methods of Preparation –
From the food’s point of view, as is said, a salad is obtained from the rocket, which is not only a contour but it can be used in sauces or as an aromatic herb to match meat, cheeses, toast and toast.
Rucola or Ruchetta is a highly appreciated and common herb in our kitchen. Its firm and pungent flavor makes it perfect not only as a side dish but also as an ingredient of many preparations.
The rocket leaves should be washed and dried thoroughly before use and if desired to keep them in the fridge for a few days, if it is drained (preferably organic). The rocket also boasts diuretic properties, which make it perfect for those who want to promote the elimination of toxins from the body.
As always we present some recipes. Let’s see those with a rocket.
1) Rucola croutons sauce
To get a quick sauce to spread on fresh bread or on crunchy breadcrumbs, stir the rocket by adding extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt and a pepper. Decorate your croutons with whole pine nuts.
2) Pesto with the rocket and nuts
Similar to the previous sauce, but richer in the process, to give a distinctive flavor to your pasta dish. Next to the rocket stand a handful of basil and a dozen shelled or chopped walnuts.
3) Rucola velvety and broccoli
Cook until softened in 700 ml of vegetable broth, 400 grams of broccoli cut into pieces, half sliced onion, a small potato and 50 grams of rocket. When everything is ready, grind the vegetables with the aid of a diving mixer. Divide into the dishes and serve your velvety by accompanying it with slices of homemade bread.
4) Macedonia with rocket and watermelon
Cut into cubes a slice of watermelon and four melon slivers. Sprinkle a handful of rocket leaves along with fresh mint leaves. Season your salad with the juice of half a lemon and with a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
5) Rucola Focaccia
Prepare the base of your bacon by kneading 400 grams of flour with half a glass of extra virgin olive oil, a cube of brewer’s yeast, salt until full and water as long as you get a soft and smooth dough. Let the dough for three hours within a bowl covered with a damp cloth. Place the dough in a round, oiled baking pan and cook in the oven at 180 ° C for about 30 minutes, after spraying the surface of the chopped rosemary with large salt. When the focaccia is ready, cut it into cloves and sprinkle each of them with fresh rocket leaves.
6) Rucola Pizza
The previous dough for sponge can also be used as a basis for preparing a good pizza to be seasoned with tomato sauce or peppers and with finely chopped onion, to be added to half cooking. The fresh rocket should be sprinkled on the pizza only after it has been extracted from the oven.
7) Summer salad
Add to your summer salad, prepared with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, olives, capers and courgettes cut into julienne, some rocket leaves to enrich it with its characteristic flavor. Contain it with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
8) Autumn salad
Accompany your salad with the rocket with finely sliced fennel, pears cut into cubes, chopped walnut skewers and tangerine cloves. Season with olive oil and some drops of lemon and orange juice. Accompany the salad, if you wish, with the mustard sauce.
9) Rucola liqueur
To prepare a rocket-based digestive liquor, let it sprinkle in the dark for about ten days 50 rucola leaves in one liter of alcohol, along with the peel of an orange and a finely chopped lemon, half a cinnamon stick, half Vanilla berry and a teaspoon of cloves. Then filter the liqueur and incorporate a syrup simply prepared with water and sugar (700 grams of sugar per liter of water). Add the syrup to the alcohol, bottled and let it rest for three months before sampling.
10) Chickpea salad and rocket salad
Mix 250 grams of boiled chickpeas with 100 grams of rocket leaves, a handful of green olives and two tablespoons of sesame seeds. Season with olive oil and a teaspoon of apple vinegar. You can also add chopped parsley, fresh or dry, to your liking.
11) Garlic, oil and rocket spaghetti
This is a variant of the classic dish of spaghetti, garlic, oil and chili, suitable for those who do not like spicy flavors. While the pasta bakes, let it brown briefly in chopped garlic olive oil, along with which you will skim the spaghetti once cooked, crumbling with rocket, black pepper and minced parsley. Garnish dishes with whole rocket leaves.
12) Rucola and curry sauce
This is an ideal sauce for seasoning boiled rice or pasta, suitable for those who like exotic flavors. For two people stew three carrots with oil, water and two teaspoons of curry. When you have softened, put them in the mixer together with a handful of rocket leaves and add floury olive oil until you get a creamy sauce.
13) Smoothie with strawberries and rocket
It is a smoothie to be eaten fresh on summer evenings. Mix in a mixer a ripe banana with a lemon juice and a dozen strawberries. Add a handful of rocket leaves and one of the spinach leaves and continue to blend by adding water until you get a desired texture consistency. Add a spoonful of rice malt.
14) Rucola sandwich
Prepare your summer sandwich by subtly slicing tomatoes and courgettes, seasoning with a pinch of oil and pinching. Do not forget to add a handful of rocket salad with lemon juice and black olives cut to washers.
15) Salted cake with rocket and spinach
Sprinkle 400 grams of fresh spinach and 300 grams of rocket with oil, water and salt. In the meantime, prepare the base for the salty cake mixing 200 grams of flour 0 with enough water and two tablespoons of olive oil until a smooth and homogeneous dough is left to rest for a quarter of an hour. Then place it on a round baking tray and high edges, after having been fed with oil, mix your dough in a thin sheet, stuff it and transfer to the rocket and spinach. Garnish with slices of onion and pine nuts. Bake at 180 ° C for 25 minutes.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, no responsibility for their use for any curative, aesthetic or food use is considered.