Many people like cultivating their own herbs. Especially those that are difficult to locate in stores! However, when harvest time comes, you may find yourself with so much arugula that you don’t know what to do with it. If you don’t completely identify with that scenario, here’s another. The only bag you could buy is a bulk bag, which always ends up rotting away in the back of your fridge.
So, can arugula be frozen to overcome both of these issues? Fortunately, you can freeze arugula, but you’ll have to accept that the texture won’t be the same. Arugula leaves will be mushy once thawed, regardless of how they were frozen. At the absolute least, this method will assist you in preserving the flavor and color of frozen arugula. Today, we’ll look at the best way to store arugula long-term to reduce waste, a few alternative storage methods and how freezing impacts each, and finally, how to thaw frozen arugula.
What Is Arugula?
The herb arugula is also referred to as “rocket.” Depending on where you are from, it may go by a variety of other names. It goes by the names eruca, colewort, and rucola. Arugula is a widely used salad ingredient that has a distinctive flavor profile. It is remarkably new overall. But what comes next is a flavor that is deep, peppery, bitter, and somewhat tangy. It goes without saying that it’s a component with serious punch! Rocket has a lot of uses besides salads. It is a typical herb that is added to pizza and pasta. To add a more complex and well-balanced flavor, it can also be used to stews and soups. Of course, you can use arugula to make a pesto, dipping sauce, flavored hummus, or even salsa, just like you can with the majority of other herbs.
Why Would You Freeze An Herb?
So you’re probably thinking why you’d need to freeze a herb. Arugula, like most herbs, is a seasonal ingredient in most locations where it grows. It’s not naturally available all year! And, if you can find it out of season, it’s probably imported from another region or of poorer quality. It would therefore have a dull flavor and be less crisp and refreshing overall. Many individuals prefer freezing arugula over buying flavorless (and more expensive) alternatives out of season. It’s also possible that you collected too much arugula and have more than you can use in a week or two. So, once again, freezing is a fantastic alternative! However, as you are surely aware, herbs do not freeze well. So the question isn’t so much if you can freeze rocket as it is whether you should.
Can You Freeze Arugula?
Freezing arugula can be done in two different methods. One approach is quick and simple, while another takes a little more effort but is still simple. You will get various results using each technique. Therefore, before simply freezing arugula, consider how you will likely be using it in the future. It’s crucial to understand that neither of these techniques will maintain the fresh leaf’s crisp feel. Both of them will make it floppy and limp.
In the first approach, the arugula leaves are simply put inside a freezer-safe bag or container and frozen. For the second technique, you must first blanch the arugula in boiling water. To maintain the leafy green’s color and flavor, many individuals advocate doing this. Additionally, it will help shield the herb from severe freezer burn, which would otherwise damage it totally.
Sincere to say, there is a different approach that some people employ, but it wasn’t really intended for arugula leaves. A lot of individuals are aware that they’ll be using the arugula in soups or smoothies. Thus, they only combine the leaves to create a paste. The paste is then divided into parts and frozen, making it simple to combine again.
Do You Have To Blanche Arugula Before Freezing?
There is disagreement over whether arugula should be blanched before freezing. Some swear by it, while others believe it is unneeded. Always blanch herbs and leafy greens before freezing them, according to our personal experience with professional chefs and home cooks. It may not result in a better-thawed texture than the other way. However, it will undoubtedly aid in the preservation of their flavor and color. Furthermore, blanched leaves will fit in a much smaller container than fresh leaves.
How Long Can Arugula Stay Frozen?
Many individuals like to claim that ingredients that are frozen will always be good. But that is simply untrue. Arugula is one of the ingredients that is particularly prone to losing both its flavor and vibrant green color. Therefore, we would not advise keeping it for more than three months. Although it won’t taste nice, it will be safe to consume for up to a year. Try to utilize the frozen arugula within a month of freezing it, if at all possible. It will lose flavor more quickly the longer you preserve it.
How To Properly Freeze Arugula Leaves
Today, we’ll go over the specifics of blanching and freezing arugula. If you prefer the other method, simply place the leaves in an airtight container and refrigerate them! Our method strives to retain as much flavor, color, and (to a lesser extent) texture of the arugula leaves as possible.
Step 1: Blanch The Arugula
Make a pot of water come to a boil first. Add all the arugula leaves at once once the water has reached a rolling boil. To make sure they are completely submerged, press them beneath the water. Blanch them for 30 to 45 seconds, or until they are just starting to soften.
Step 2: Drain And Cool The Leaves
Remove them from the boiling water and place them in a bowl of ice water to cool. Allow them to chill in the ice water for a couple of minutes. Then remove them from the water. Place them in a sieve or colander to drain any extra water.
Step 3: Place The Leaves In A Container
Place the leaves on some paper towels once they have completely dried. More water should be drained from them as a result. Once they are dry, store them in a freezer bag or an airtight container. As much air as you can try to get out.
Step 4: Wrap In Foil And Freeze
Wrap the container with aluminum foil. This will shield it from freezer burn. Finally, place the container in the freezer and label it.
How To Thaw Arugula
Leafy greens and herbs melt best when done gradually. Unwrap the container from the foil. After that, put it in the refrigerator overnight to gradually thaw. Herbs, on the other hand, typically melt much more quickly. They should be prepared in a couple of hours. The rocket leaves can be quickly defrosted at room temperature. Arugula can also be used in soups or smoothies by simply blending the frozen herb with the remaining ingredients.
How Does Arugula Change After It Has Been Thawed?
The texture of thawed arugula will be nothing like that of fresh arugula. The leaves of thawed arugula are exceedingly fragile and limp. They will have completely lost structural integrity. This is why thawed arugula should only be used in recipes that call for blending or cooking; it should never be used as a fresh component or garnish. The flavor of the thawed arugula will be slightly muted. The longer it is frozen, the less spicy and peppery the flavors get. As with all frozen and thawed ingredients, the color will fade with time.
After learning more about arugula and how to freeze and thaw it, let’s examine some relevant queries we hypothesized you could have.
How do you store arugula in the fridge?
If you have the option, store fresh arugula in the refrigerator! The leaves should be well washed and dried. Then, inside a loosely closed container, set them on some paper towels. This easy procedure will help keep the leaves fresh for an extended period of time.
Can you freeze arugula leaves in oil?
Some people employ this strategy, but it’s not one of our favorites. Because it only really works if you use the oil-soaked arugula for pesto or dressings, we didn’t particularly mention it. We don’t advise using it at all because too much oil will sabotage any other kind of dish. In its simplest form, it requires freezing chopped, olive oil-soaked arugula leaves. Both flavor and color are intended to be preserved by the oil. It can certainly do that, but the texture will remain soft after thawing.
Why does arugula get slimy?
Deterioration is the root cause of slimy arugula and other slimy herbs and leafy greens in general. It is an obvious sign that the leaves are no longer edible and should not be utilized. You should keep the leaves free from any humidity or moisture to avoid this from happening. Keeping them on paper towels, which will soak up any water droplets on the leaves or in the air, is also beneficial.