A Spicy Little Salad from Your Backyard – London Rocket

This week, I’ve been blissing out on the gorgeous green lushness overtaking my previously brown yard. Little green London rocket is everywhere!

I live in the Sonoran bioregion (in the city of Tucson in the Sonoran desert of the American Southwest). Wintertime is our season of garden greens, and some of our very best greens grown wild!

Familiar mustardy zip

One delicious wild edible is London rocket (Sisymbrium irio), which you can think of as a wild arugula. It’s in the Brassicaceae family like so many of your familiar vegetable friends, such as broccoli, kale, and collards.

London rocket has that familiar mustardy zip . . . very warming and pungent. Add a bit of the leaves to your salad! (For many more ideas, see the two links below.)

I took these photos to help you identify your London rocket, if you are fortunate enough to have this plant as your backyard neighbor. (For more assistance in plant ID, also see the two links below).

IMPORTANT (for any wild edible): Do not gather if pesticides or other chemicals have been used, or if there is the possibility that any wandering pets have peed on your weeds! Also make sure that you have positively identified your plant before gathering.

Photos to help you identify your plant:

Photo 1: Flowering London rocket.

Flowers are useful for identifying your plant, but you’ll want to nibble on the young leaves in pre-flower phase, because the flavor is quite hot after flowering. 🙂

London rocket, edible, wild edible, in my backyard

PHOTO 2: Notice the leaf shape. This one has a young flower. 

That leaf was deliciously spicy! When the flowers are present, a little nibble goes a long way. 🙂

London rocket, edible, wild edible, in my backyard

Want to learn more about London Rocket?

Here are links to two wonderful local herbalists:

URBAN FORAGING FOR LONDON ROCKET by John Slattery
Read all about the medicinal properties, ethnobotany, and energetics of this power-packed little plant. He included recipes too! London rocket pesto anyone?

WONDROUS WEEDS! by Martha Ames Burgess
Read all about the poetic personality (and taste!) of London rocket and how to gather and prepare this wild weed, along with several other edible friends who often grow nearby (Russian thistle, saltbush, and cheeseweed).

 

Leave a comment (or a plant story of your own) below!

Thank you for reading! If you find, collect, and eat London Rocket (or other wild weeds), I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. 🙂