What’s in Season: Swiss Chard

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

If vegetables got grades for nutrition, Swiss chard would go to the head of the class. This tall vegetable with green ribbed leaves and wide crunchy stalks is loaded with vitamins A and C, and is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin K.  If you’re ‘boning’ up on veggies, you may want to consider chard for maintaining strong healthy bones. 

History:
Swiss chard is a member of the beet and spinach family, and along with kale and collards, is what, in the South, we refer to simply as greens. Its name comes from the Latin and French words cardus or carde, eventually coming to mean stalk or rib. Although the stories of origin vary, Swiss chard most likely got its name from its extensive cultivation in Switzerland. Varieties of chard include white (or green), ruby, with stalks that look like rhubarb, and rainbow – a bouquet of green glossy leaves and colorful stalks of pink, orange, yellow, and bright red.

Selecting:
Chard is available year-round. It is at its peak and available locally from June through August. When selecting chard, look for crisp green leaves, with no yellowing or wilted leaves and firm, thick stalks. It will keep unwashed, in a large food storage bag wrapped in a damp paper towel for up to 3 days. Swiss chard can be gritty, so be sure to rinse well before using. A method we like is to chop the leaves and stems and submerge them into a sink filled with cool water. Swish them around briefly, then leave undisturbed for a minute or so to allow any grit to fall to the bottom of the sink.

Most Common Uses:
Swiss chard’s earthy, slightly bitter flavor is delicious simply boiled or sautéed, or added to soups, rice dishes, savory strudels, and quiches. Try changing it up and use parboiled chard leaves instead of cabbage for stuffing. And while we’re on the subject of change, we’d love you to try these recipes with Swiss chard instead of collards or spinach. Mix it up in our Steak and Greens recipe using chard and other favorite greens. For our Spinach and Bacon Quiche, just be sure to cook the chopped chard leaves in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender. Like spinach, you’ll need to drain the chard well and squeeze it dry before adding to the rest of your ingredients. You will need about 1 bunch chopped fresh chard for our Quick Spicy Collards, and 1 bunch chopped chard for our Creamed Spinach recipe. We hope you will enjoy these recipes as much as we do. Live well – go green!


Food Editor’s Note: The beautiful Swiss chard photographed by Chia Chong for this article was taken from Paula’s vegetable and herb garden on the south side of her home.

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Reader Comments:

54321

I HAVE ALWAYS PREFERRED SWISS CHARD - WHITE AS WELL AS RED- TO COLLARD GREENS. THEY ARE EASY TO PREPARE FOR A GREEN MEAL. EXTRA GLAD YOU INCLUDED THE VITAMIN CONTENTS. THANKS

By MARY Alice Long on March 11, 2011

54321

I had a swiss chard pizza in Tampa and I will always remember how good that was

By Jeannie roman on March 08, 2011

i raise swiss chard in our carden & we enjoy it
  all summer long & was glad to know all the
  vitiams that are in it.

By nancy sitton on September 07, 2010

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 3:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm