Arugula likes me. For some reason — likely the soil on our property and the not-full-sun exposure — arugula, that spicy green also known as rocket, grows profusely in our garden. We never have to plant it because it just keeps sprouting year after year in our vegetable beds. I weed out the bed interiors and let the arugula grow along the edges, creating a green perimeter where kale, peas, and Egyptian walking onions happily grow in the middle.
But this spicy goodness only lasts for the summer months and we dearly miss arugula the rest of the year. I make as much arugula pesto as I can and freeze it in small jars for pizza and pasta topping for later. Yet, since I have so much of it, and have been giving as much as I can away, I’ve been searching for a way to preserve arugula, so we can enjoy our it in the cold months of the year.
Frozen arugula doesn’t taste like arugula and doesn’t work well in smoothies, either. Blanching it takes the verve out of it, too. But, preserving arugula in olive oil, and freezing it, helps seal in the flavor!
Here’s how: I use a pie tin and chop as much arugula as I can to fit just below the rim of the pie tin.
I then pour in extra virgin olive oil until it’s about an inch deep and put the tin in the freezer. When it’s totally frozen, pop your tin out of the freezer and break your frozen oil/arugula into chunks that you can then store in the freezer in freezer bags or a large glass jar. I never buy freezer bags, but just reuse ones that I acquire through other frozen items we get at the store, or I double bag some Ziploc bags. Please don’t buy plastic bags, as there are so many in our landfills, we can simply make do with what we have, or ask for them on our local Buy Nothing groups.
So, what do we do with our frozen olive oil/arugula chunks? In the winter, I use one at a time, in salad dressings, on top of pizzas, in pastas, salads, and stir fries. The arugula still has its punch and my crop is extended into the heart of the cold months, reminding me of the dog days of summer.