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. 

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.

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:



By MARY Alice Long on March 11, 2011


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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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
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