Originally from the Mediterranean and Central-West Asia, the rocket is a herbaceous plant also known as Eruca sativa. It belongs to the Cruciferae family and can grow spontaneously both in sea and mountain areas, up to about 800 meters high. The rocket produces leaves often used in the culinary field, the elongated shape and the slightly sour taste that becomes more intense from the summer season. The flowers are small, usually white or light yellow, formed by four petals, while the stems are rather thin. In ancient times, it was attributed to this plant of magical properties: the rocket was even used in love filters. Today it is especially appreciated for its aromatic qualities and the many therapeutic qualities.
It is not difficult to grow the rocket in pots or in small gardens: it, by its size, fits well into the restricted spaces. It is important, however, to comply with certain rules to ensure the best herb condition for the herbaceous plant in question. First of all, it is preferable to have a light show but be protected from excessive winds, which could irreparably damage the leaves. In addition, the rocket feels water stagnations, causing frequent rotting. For this reason, it is important to water the soil with little water at a time, letting it dry completely between one operation and the other. The soil must be slightly dense, light, soft and fresh. If you want to grow the pile of rocket, it is advisable to choose one from the diameter of about 20-25 cm and place a layer of expanded clay on the bottom so as to favor the drainage of the soil. The seeds should be covered with little soil, so they do not have trouble sprouting. The ideal period for sowing is spring, but generally the rocket can be planted from March to October. In the case of pest infestations, it is suggested to intervene with home remedies easy to prepare such as macerated nettle or garlic infusion.
The rocket is often used to prepare salads and to enrich different types of dishes with its peculiar bitter flavor. This plant, moreover, contains important mineral salts and vitamins, including C, A, K and B5. Very appreciated is the pesto made from the rocket, great for accompanying a good pasta dish. Additionally, this herbaceous plant produces a decoction with purifying and diuretic effects. Therapeutic properties include antibacterial and antitumoral agents due to sulphoraphane. The rocket has the power to help digestion, to stimulate appetite and to protect stomach mucous membranes, helping to fight gastritis.
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