Spring is here and I am so excited for the fresh vegetables that are overrunning the farmer’s market or can be found in season at the store. With so much tasty fresh produce to choose from, it is hard to decide on just one to highlight. But today we are going to look at one of my favorite leafy greens: Chard.
Chard is delicious! You will find that it is more firm than spinach but not nearly as firm and bitter as the much praised kale. So a nice middle ground and of course you still get the benefits of the dark, leafy greens. It is so versatile that you will have no problem finding ways to add it to your menu.
What is it?
Chard is a leafy green vegetable with large leaves and thick stalks that are usually white, red, or yellow. It is the same subspecies as beets and can be found under quite a few names like Swiss chard, rainbow chard (because the stalk colors), silverbeet, bright lights, etc.
Where to find it?
Look for chard being sold as a bunch at your local farmer’s market or the produce section of your grocery store. It is usually located next to the kale and other bunched greens. You may also find it being sold as “baby” chard in salad mixes. Baby chard is just chard that is harvested when the leaves are still very young and tender. This makes it a bit easier to eat raw in salads like lettuce or spinach.
Although we are talking about chard now in the spring, you will also be able to find it in season in the fall.
How to pick it?
Choose a bunch that still has crisp leaves and firm stalks. The leaves will start getting wilted and the stalks rubbery as it sits so it is best to use it in the first few days.
How to store it?
Refrigerate in a plastic bag. Washing the leaves before storing can increase the spoilage but do make sure to wash them before cooking.
How to cook it?
So many good recipes, so little time! The stalks are edible but tougher than the leaves so you may give them a little more cook time. If you find yourself with extra chard (lucky!), you can blanch and freeze it for later.
How to Blanch Swiss Chard from Cooking with Kimberly – great video that takes you through the steps of blanching and freezing chard
Swiss Chard Rolls from Meet the Shannons
Swiss Chard Wraps with Raw Walnut Taco “Meat” from Tasty Yummies – gluten-free and vegan
Eggs Nested in Sauteed Chard and Mushrooms from Simply Recipes
Ruby Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup from My Recipes
Garlicky Swiss Chard and Chickpeas from Foodie Crush
Swiss Chard Pesto/Salsa from Closet Cooking
Spicy Chard Chips from Family Spice
Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems from the Kitchn
Of course we all know that dark leafy greens are so good for you but each are just a bit different in their nutrient makeup. So adding Chard into your menu is a great way diversify your greens.
Per 1 Cup (abt 175 g) 35 Calories; .14g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 313mg Sodium; 7.23g Carb; 3.7g Fiber; 1.93g Sugar; 3.3g Protein; 102mg Calcium; 4mg Iron; 150mg Magnesium; 58mg Phosphorus; 961mg Potassium; 31.5mg Vitamin C; 16mcg Folate; 572mcg Vitamin K; 536mcg Vitamin A (Source: USDA National Nutrient database) **this is for chard boiled without salt