Produce of the Month Guide: Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard produce guide includes everything you need to know about this hardy green, and includes 21 inspiring swiss chard recipes!
It’s time for the second installment of my Produce of the Month Guide, and this month it’s all about one of my favorite greens –> SWISS CHARD!
For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the stories that I posted of the rainbow chard in my garden.
There were a few, because it’s so pretty that I can’t contain myself.
In one Instagram story I took a poll asking people if they’re a fan of swiss chard, and 85% of those that took the poll said yes.
I decided then and there to highlight swiss chard for February’s produce of the month guide.
I love my greens, but hadn’t been exposed to swiss chard until several years ago in cooking school. We used it in a variety of ways and it quickly became a favorite of mine.
Swiss chard is a green leafy vegetable that is prevalent in Mediterranean cooking. It’s actually a member of the beet family, but it doesn’t produce a bulbous root.
Chard comes in array of colors including green, red and yellow primarily, but may also be found in other colorful hues as well.
Swiss chard leaves are normally enormous when you find it at the farmer’s market or in the store. The leaves are on the delicate side, and the stems are very hardy.
Swiss chard is very mild in flavor (even more mild than spinach), making it fantastic raw in salads. I often eat it plain because I love the flavor, and raw is the best way to reap the nutritional benefits.
Growing swiss chard
Chard is a biennial, which means it will not set seed until the second year of growth. It should be planted in the fall well before the first frost, or in the spring after the last frost, or when the soil is at least 50 degrees.
I planted (4) rainbow chard plants in late October, and I’m currently harvesting it now. It’s grown very well all through the winter so far, and made it through a few very cold, frosty weeks here in California (very cold and frosty here is high 20’s – low 30’s).
I’ve found chard to be very easy to grow, but a little tougher to keep the slugs off of the beautiful leaves. Normally I clip the leaves as soon as they’re large enough so the slugs don’t get to them before I do. 🙂
Harvest the outer leaves at the base of the stalk when they are 8-12″ long, and leave the inner leaves intact to continue growing. The leaves will continue to grow again and again.
Swiss chard is an excellent source of Vitamin A, C and K, and is rich in magnesium, potassium, fiber and iron. Chard is a great way to add nutrition to your salads, smoothies, soups and pasta dishes!
Cooking chard for a short time only will help it retain its nutritional value as well as its green color.
How to choose and store chard
Look for chard that has dark, leafy greens and brightly colored stems. Because the leaves are so large, they can rip and tear easily. I always try to find the leaves that are in the best shape at the store or farmer’s market.
Blot the chard dry using a paper towel if necessary before storing it in the crisper drawer of the fridge. For best results use within 2-3 days. I’ve read that chard can last for up to 5 days stored in a plastic bag in the fridge, but I haven’t tried that myself.
Blanch chard for 1-2 minutes, chop it, and store in the freezer in a plastic zip top bag.
How to prep and cook chard
I prep chard by placing it on a cutting board with the stem at the top. Using a sharp knife, I cut from the top down along each side of the stem in a “V”. From there, I stack a few leaves on top of one another and slice them into ribbons or chop them depending on what I’m using them for.
I’ll confess that I don’t use the stems of the chard, which seems sad since they’re so pretty. Because they’re so hardy, they have a longer cooking time so they should be cooked separately.
While I was researching this post I found 5 Ways to Eat Chard Stems by the Kitchn.
I treat chard the same way that I treat spinach when I cook it. It’s so delicate that all it needs is a quick wilt in soups, sautés and pastas. It cooks in minutes!
Swiss Chard recipes:
Sweet Thai Chili Chicken Swiss Chard Wraps with Peanut Ginger Sauce by Half Baked Harvest
Swiss Chard Tart with Chevre and Leeks by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Roasted Sweet Potato Chickpea Salad by Minimalist Baker
Spicy Pickled Swiss Chard Stems by Heartbeet Kitchen
Swiss Chard with Corn, Pancetta and Cannellini Beans by Kitchen Confidante
Eggplant, Chickpea and Chard Shakshuka by The Roasted Root
Swiss Chard Mushroom Enchiladas by Making Thyme for Health
Spicy Instant Pot Chard and Pinto Bean Risotto by Letty’s Kitchen
Farmer’s Market Frittata by Frugal Foodie Mama
Spicy Swiss Chard Soba Noodle Stir Fry by A Virtual Vegan
Creamy Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Soup by Cook Nourish Bliss
Black Eyed Pea Curry with Swiss Chard and Roasted Eggplant by Strength and Sunshine
Kale and Chard Green Power Salad with Maple Vinaigrette by Aggie’s Kitchen
Braised Lemon Paprika Chicken with Sumac by Healthy Nibbles and Bits
Mediterranean Chard Salad by Feasting at Home
Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Garlicky Swiss Chard Gremolata by Eats Well With Others
Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard by The Lemon Bowl