Everything You Need To Know About Swiss Chard
We have always been told to eat our greens, and when those greens come in such a delicious package as Swiss chard, we will willingly dig in. There is so much beautiful produce to choose from at the farmers’ market that you might have overlooked this vegetable, or perhaps you just didn't know what to do with it or why you need it. Time to give Swiss chard a closer look. Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that comes from the same family as beets and spinach. Regardless of what the name implies, it does not originate in Switzerland but in the Mediterranean region. With a delicate and sweet flavor, you can add Swiss chard to soups, stews, frittatas, and baked pastas. In fact, if your recipe calls for spinach, kale, or another leafy green, you can substitute in Swiss chard. Like a lot of our other favorite leafy green vegetables, Swiss chard is low in calories and packs a ton of antioxidants and vitamins, making it a healthy choice when cooking.
How to Buy and Store Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is typically a cool-season crop because it grows best in the more moderate temperatures of spring and fall. Chard is quite tolerant of hotter temperatures, as well, so you may be able to find this leafy vegetable year round. Look for vibrant color when choosing a bunch of chard. The leaves and stems should be unbruised, free from blemishes, firm, and not wilted. Swiss chard can be stored in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
What is Rainbow Chard?
Rainbow chard is not a variety of chard, but various colors of chard that have been bunched together. Although the leaves on Swiss chard are always a dark green, the stems can be white, yellow, or bright red. Keep in mind that there is no noticeable flavor difference between the colors but, when cooked with other foods, the colored stems may lend a pink or red hue to the other ingredients in the recipe.
How to Prep Swiss Chard
Wash the chard as you would any other leafy green, stack the stems together, trim the ends of the stems, then cut the leaves from the stems. Cut out any thick ribs from the leaves, then stack the leaves and cut crosswise into ribbons or pieces.
How to Use Swiss Chard
As mentioned above, you can use Swiss chard in any recipe that calls for a leafy green. If you like to toss spinach leaves into your fall soups and stews for an added punch of color and nutrition, next time use Swiss chard leaves cut into ribbons. Add whole, baby Swiss chard leaves to your favorite tossed green salads for a beautiful addition. If you have more mature chard leaves, cut them into ribbons and, before adding to a salad, gently massage the dressing into the leaves with your hands to help tenderize them. You can use Swiss chard in place of, or mixed with, other greens when making a quick skillet sauté. While the stems are not as widely used as the leaves, they are crunchy and delicious and just as worth of being eaten as their leafy counterparts. Dice stems and use them in salads along with the leaves or sauté chopped stems on their own with garlic, olive oil, and a splash of lemon juice.