Learn how to store this delicate leafy green, including the best way to freeze it.
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Citrus-Arugula Salad

From Easy Salmon Cakes with Arugula Salad to Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Red Pepper & Arugula Relish, arugula adds a delightful peppery note to any dish. However you plan to enjoy fresh arugula, make the most of it by storing it properly. Read on to find out how to store arugula—plus, find out if you can freeze arugula.

What to Look for When Buying Arugula

Arugula comes in bunches with stems attached as well as prewashed in bags or containers. Look for arugula that is bright green with no yellowing. If the arugula has any slimy spots or wet leaves, skip it. That's an indication that the arugula is starting to spoil. Additionally, if there is any bruising (dark spots) on the leaves, skip it. However, a little bit of limpness in the stems is fine.

How to Store Arugula

Like most tender greens, arugula is highly perishable and should be bought no more than a few days before you plan to eat it. Here's the best way to store a bunch of arugula:

  1. Wrap the root ends in a damp paper towel. 
  2. Place in a plastic bag, root-ends down, and refrigerate for three to seven days.

When you're ready to eat, cut off any tough stems. Wash in cool water and spin dry in a salad spinner (alternatively, you can also dry arugula by placing it between two layers of paper towels and gently rolling).

If you've purchased prewashed arugula in a bag or container, here's how to store it:

  1. Dump arugula onto a paper-towel-lined cutting board. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Line a container with a dry paper towel and add arugula leaves. Cover with cloth or paper towel and refrigerate for three to seven days.

You can also use the container that you purchased the arugula in for storage. Just be sure to dry the container thoroughly before returning the arugula to it. Excess moisture will cause the leaves to spoil.

Can You Freeze Arugula?

If you're looking for a longer-term storage solution, you may want to freeze arugula. While you technically can freeze arugula, we don't recommend it—at least not freezing the leaves directly. Arugula leaves are delicate and tender, and freezing them results in a water-logged mess when it's time to defrost. Plus, frozen arugula leaves won't have the same crisp texture as fresh leaves do, which isn't ideal for many recipes like salads or grain bowls.

Instead, if you want to freeze arugula, we suggest turning it into a sauce, which is more freezer-friendly. Use arugula to create an herbaceous pesto that can be used in pasta dishes, on chicken and more. After transforming the arugula into pesto, you can freeze the sauce in individual cubes, so it'll be easier to grab the exact amount you need when it's time to defrost.

By Lisa Kingsley and Alex Loh