Arugula, also known as garden rocket, is a plant that is used raw in salads. Arugula is also used as an ingredient in recipes for cooked meals. It has great health benefits and can be eaten on a regular basis. Arugula is rich in vitamin K, calcium, isothiocyanates, and indole-3-carbinol.
The active components of arugula make it a wonderful powerfood that effectively reduces the risk of having certain cancers like pancreatic, lung, breast, and prostate cancer.
Clearly, arugula is both a healthy and versatile vegetable – so it won’t be a surprise if you’ve decided to stock up on it. Stocking up on arugula will ensure that you have easy access to the healthy vegetable whenever you need it. So, how to you properly preserve arugula?
Can you freeze arugula? Yes, you can freeze arugula. Although most people will want to blanch their green vegetables first before freezing, you don’t have to do so with your arugula or other greens.
However, there are some certain steps that you must follow if you won’t be blanching your arugula before freezing.
For instance, you should pre-freeze your arugula before leaving it to be preserved over a long period of time in the freezer. This article contains more information about greens like arugula and how to successfully freeze them without having to blanch first. Keep reading to know more.
One of the paramount factors to consider when freezing any food item is its packaging. The packaging is what shields the food item from cold freezer air and prevents freezer burn. If you fail to pack your arugula correctly before freezing, you’ll end up getting poor results after freezing it for some time.
If you’re contemplating whether or not to blanch your arugula before freezing, you should know that blanching isn’t compulsory for freezing – although most people recommend blanching first.
There are different reasons to freeze your arugula. You may have some excess leftovers from some cooking or you may intentionally want to stock up on the vegetable for future use. There are some people that have arugula planted alongside other greens in their gardens.
If you’re about to harvest a large batch of fresh arugula, it makes sense that you’d want a reliable method of preservation – this is where freezing comes in.
How to Freeze Arugula
Freezing arugula is a simple and straightforward process. I’ll be providing you with a few easy steps now; make sure you follow them correctly.
Step 1: Wash the Arugula and Pre-Freeze
If you hand-picked the batch of arugula from your garden, there’s a good chance that it’s dirty. You can use cold tap water to rinse off the dirt from the arugula till it’s clean enough. After rinsing the vegetable, go ahead and dry it properly.
The next step after rinsing and drying is to pre-freeze the arugula. Arugula has a crispy texture, and it’s important to preserve that texture during the process of freezing. Pre-freezing will help conserve the crispy texture of the arugula and prevent it from losing its taste.
Grab a baking sheet and line its base with some parchment paper. Spread out the arugula neatly on the baking sheet and allow it to sit in the freezer for about 3 hours. Once the greens have been properly frozen, take them out for the next step – packaging.
Step 2: Vacuum Pack the Arugula
With the arugula pre-frozen, start transferring them into a resealable freezer-safe bag. You can also make use of a plastic container with a secure lid for freezing the arugula. However, the freezer-safe bag is preferable to a container because it helps to conserve space in the freezer.
After transferring all the arugula into the freezer-safe bag, go ahead to vacuum seal it; this can be done with a vacuum sealing machine. Air can also be removed manually from the freezer-safe bag if you don’t have a vacuum sealing machine at home.
Step 3: Keep in a Secure Freezer Compartment
After the freezer bag has been sealed properly, look for a clear compartment in your freezer to hold the greens. You have to be careful not to place heavier items on the pack of frozen arugula. The arugula’s crisp texture can be seriously compromised if you subject it to the crushing weight of heavier food items and objects.
Locate a space in the freezer that doesn’t get much traffic. If you have more than one bag of arugula, you can stack them on each other to conserve space.
How to Defrost Frozen Arugula
When the time comes to use that frozen arugula in a salad or some other dish, you’ll want to first defrost it. Simply take the portion you need out of the freezer and allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight. Thawing through refrigeration takes many hours. That is why it is best done overnight when you’re asleep.
Another effective alternative for thawing frozen arugula is to let it sit on the countertop at room temperature. The arugula can be left for up to 2 hours at room temperature to defrost. When you’re about to thaw the arugula, remove it from its packaging and spread it out on the countertop. More moisture will form within the freezer-safe bags if you leave the frozen arugula to thaw in them.
How to Blanch Greens
For those who would like to blanch their arugula, or any other greens, first before freezing, here are some helpful steps to follow:
- Get a pot that’s large enough and fill it with water. Place the pot over a fire till it begins to boil.
- Once the water starts to boil, put all the arugula in the water and allow it to remain there for the next 3 minutes. You must be careful not to leave the arugula in the boiling hot water for too long – doing so will cause the arugula to cook.
- After 3 minutes of soaking in hot water, remove the arugula and rinse in cold water. After you’re done rinsing, drain the water from the arugula and dry them.
You should know that blanching isn’t intended to cook your greens. Instead, it is done to prolong the shelf-life of greens and also preserve their original taste, texture, and nutrients.