Everything You Need to Know About Chard
. . . could, by many, be put in a thimble, with room left over. If you are one of those people, read on! Chard rocks! If you already love Chard and are aware of its benefits, read on as well! There could be some new stuff in here for you.
Ok, first things first. Chard is a seasonal leafy green primarily cultivated between June and October, but is available year round. Its leaves and stalk are both edible, although only the strong can handle it raw (please note: always wash your veggies thoroughly before consuming). It comes in three main varieties: Green (a.k.a. Swiss), Red and Rainbow. If you are new to Chard, I highly recommend braising it for your first culinary experience (see recipe below).
2. Nutritional Powerhouse
Chard is a great source of vitamin K, A and C, and is a wonderful cauldron of potassium, magnesium, iron and fiber. It is high in antioxidants, making it another great super food. Oh, and it’s low in calories. A single serving is merely 35 calories, yet contains more than 300% of your daily vitamin K needs. It is also rich in a multitude of B-complex vitamins, including a lot of ones I cannot pronounce.
3. “Swiss” Chard
No, it doesn’t taste like chocolate or keep great time. It gets the name Swiss Chard (a.k.a. Green Chard) because of its extensive cultivation in Switzerland. The botanist who discovered and then named it hailed from Switzerland. However, its origin is farther south, in the Mediterranean region, specifically Sicily.
4. Cook it Anyway You Want!
Boil, braise, steam or sauté – you can cook Chard any way you want. Throw it up in the air and turn around once, you can chew on it raw if you like (remember to wash your veggies before you eat them). You can juice with it, chop it up and include it in your favorite stuffing mix or pasta sauces. The general rule with Chard is to cook the leaves like you would spinach and the stalks like asparagus. To properly wash Chard, it is recommended that you wash it thoroughly with cold water, either dunking the whole leaves in a bowl of water until the water is clear, or chop it up and then use a salad washer.
5. Awesome and Interesting Facts!
None. Zip. Nada. Chard is so awesome that the trivia gurus are afraid to write anything about it. However . . . .
Bet You Didn’t Know:
Chard is in the Beet family, but its roots are inedible.
If you are someone who juices, but have not yet explored vegetables, give Chard a try. As always with something new, start small and work your way up. Add a destalked leaf to your yummy morning fruit smoothie and see how it tastes. Add more as you are able.
Looking for a quick and easy recipe? Try mine below (this is my very own recipe – ok, it’s my wife’s very own recipe, but she said it was ok to use). What’s your favorite way to cook chard? Try this Italian Sausage, Summer Squash and Wild Rice Stuffed Chard Recipe!
- 1 Bunch Swiss Chard
- 4 tbsp butter (can substitute olive oil)
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 1 bottle favorite beer (substitute 3 cups red/white wine or 3 cups apple juice)
- In deep sauce pan, on medium-high heat, melt butter, then add crushed garlic; cook until lightly brown.
- Add beer slowly, heat until simmering, reduce heat to medium.
- Chop Chard leaves (separate leaves from stalks, discard stalks in compost), wash and rinse.
- Add to pan, mix slowly until boiled down.
- Serve with main course.
Kid note: the alcohol will cook off so it is fine to serve children, and the added flavor really helps make it attractive and palatable to them.