Hello all and Happy Friday! As we’re finishing off one great week of organic produce, we are looking ahead to another week of bins filled with our favorite winter fruits and veggies! Of all the goods, we want to shed a special light on the fabulous Red Chard.
What is Red Chard?
Red Chard is also known by its many common names such as Swiss chard, silverbeet, perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, bright lights (due to the bright and vivid spring colors when they are cooked or provided as a medley of vegetables), seakale beet, and mangold.
Known mostly as Swiss Chard, its name was used to distinguish the chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalog publishers. The chard is very popular among Mediterranean cooks. The first varieties have been traced back to Sicily.
According to Livestrong, though it may not be the most popular of vegetables, Swiss Red Chard provides an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. One cup of chopped chard contains only 35 calories. It also supplies more than 700 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium and vitamin A. Although you can eat the tender, young leaves raw, the stems require cooking to enhance their flavor. Red chard is sold in bundles that will provide enough vegetables for more than one meal. It will keep for about two to three days in the refrigerator.
How to Prepare Red Chard:
From Daniel at CasualKitchen Blog –
First rinse the leaves well in water. Then cut the last half-inch or so off from the ends of each stem. This is for aesthetic reasons only (you know, the way it looks), as the stems are usually a bit discolored at the very end.
Then, put 2-3 inches of water into the bottom of a 4 or 5 quart sauce pan, and put on the stove on high heat. You can chop up the rinsed leaves and stems while the water comes to a boil. This is a textbook example of using parallel processing to save cooking time.
To chop everything most efficiently, I usually lay the full stack of leaves (with stems still attached) into one big pile on my cutting board and hack them crosswise into strips about one to two inches wide. You should be sure to slice up the stems. They’re good too, with the consistency of a celery stalk but a milder taste.
Then I’ll turn the knife 90 degrees and cut the greens once or twice lengthwise. In just a quick minute or two you’ve reduced an enormous pile of swiss chard into reasonable, bite-size pieces.
Another hint: always prep more swiss chard than you think you need. The greens will cook down quite a bit in the pan.
Then, once the water is boiling well, pack the chopped greens into the pan and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium and let the greens steam for 10-11 minutes. Swiss chard is one of the sturdier greens out there, so you’ll want to give it a few more minutes of cooking time than more tender greens like spinach which cook fully in just 4-5 minutes.
Then drain and serve! I encourage you to avoid adding butter or salt, but you can certainly add pressed garlic for an extra kick.
Red Chard Recipes:
Its uses are endless. Take your pick!