How to Harvest and Store Arugula


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Harvest arugula when the leaves are big enough to eat. Harvest leaves one at a time cut and come again or cut off the entire head.

Arugula is a fast-growing cool-season salad green. It is ready for harvest 30 to 40 days after sowing.

Arugula leaves are tangy and peppery with a mustard-like flavor. Young leaves 2 to 3 inches long (5-7 cm) are mild; older leaves can be sharply flavored.

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Arugula leaves large enough to harvest

When to harvest arugula

  • Harvest arugula anytime after the leaves are large enough to eat.
  • Arugula grows best between 60° and 65°F (15°-18°C)—commonly during spring or autumn. Plants will flower (bolt) and stop producing when temperatures reach the high 70°sF (21°+C) for several days in a row.
  • If temperatures rise into the 80°sF (26°+C), start picking outer leaves immediately; this will briefly delay bolting.
  • In mild-winter regions, arugula will often produce through the winter.
  • In cold-winter regions, grow arugula under a plastic tunnel or in a cold frame. In a cold frame, you can keep arugula from freezing by covering plants with straw or hay.
  • Overwintered arugula will give you an early spring harvest.

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How to harvest arugula

  • Harvest baby leaves or leaves to 8 inches (20 cm) long cut-and-come-again or cut the whole bunching head.
  • Cut arugula with garden scissors or a serrated bread knife. Leave one inch (2.5 cm) of individual leaves or an inch of the crown if you harvest the plant whole. Either way, the plant will keep producing new leaves as long as temperatures are cool.
  • Leaves cut from plants that have produced flowers will be bitter and tough but still edible. Arugula flowers are also edible.
Arugula leaves in bowl
Arugula will keep in the refrigerator for about 10 days but it will be most flavorful if used in 3 to 6 days.

How to store arugula

  • Store arugula cold and moist, 32°-40°F (0°-5°C) and 95 percent relative humidity.
  • Wrap leaves in a cloth or paper towel and place them in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper section of the refrigerator.
  • Arugula will keep in the refrigerator for about 10 days but it will be most flavorful if used in 3 to 6 days.
  • Arugula leaves that are stored too cold or too long will develop wilt, yellow, and develop brown spots

Arugula articles at Harvest to Table:

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More harvest tips:

Learn when and how to harvest your favorite vegetables for the best flavor and texture. Get storage tips for each crop. Click on the vegetable you are growing below.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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