Swiss Chard

swiss chard

General Information

Swiss chard is a very popular leafy green, popular in Mediterranean cuisine.  It is thought to have originated in Sicily.  Chard is actually an older, leafy variety of the beets- it just doesn’t grow the big root tip, and instead, is cultivated for the tender greens.  The leaves of Swiss chard are shiny, green, and ribbed.  The stem color varies between white, yellow, and red, depending on the cultivar.  When eaten raw, chard is bitter, but cooking removes this bitterness.  They can be harvested when the leaves are young and tender or when they are mature and tougher.  Swiss chard can be used instead of spinach or kale in most recipes. Like kale and spinach, chard is full of valuable nutrients, including vitamins A and C, as well as potassium or fiber.

Health Benefits

There are numerous health benefits to Swiss chard. For example, this green is known for regulating blood sugar levels, lowering blood pressure, detoxifying the body, and preventing heart disease. Swiss chard has also been known to prevent various types of cancer, improve digestion, and boost the immune system. This versatile green is valuable to the protection and structure of bones and brain strength.

Storing & Cooking Information

Handling: Wash it well.  If the stems are very thick, strip the leaves from them before proceeding so you can cook the stems a few minutes longer.

Storing: Chard is best when fresh, but will last 2-4 days in the fridge wrapped in damp towel or placed in plastic bag and in the hydrator drawer.

Freezing: Wash and remove any damaged pieces.  Drop into boiling water for three minutes, cool the chard immediately in ice water, drain thoroughly and place in freezer bags.  Remove air from the bag (to prevent freezer burn) and place in your freezer.

Tips: Swiss chard is very versatile and can be eaten in variety of ways. It can served raw as a salad, cooked, or sautéed in a number of dishes. When served raw, Swiss chard can be quite bitter. This flavor, however, disappears after it is cooked, resembling the consistency and soft taste of spinach (but slightly more subtle). 

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