Apparently the “Swiss” in Swiss Chard has nothing to do with anything, other than possibly some Swiss botantist who named it long after people had been using and eating it, so Jon and I are trying to just call it “Chard”. Our chard takes a beating in the wind, so if you have any leaves with small tears that’s why: If we had to choose a farm name based on location, we’d be “Windy Prairie Farm”!
Chard is a close relative of the beet, but has a milder flavour than beet greens. It is more tender than kale, but comes in a similar sized bunch. We grow a variety of different colors of chard, including the traditional green- or white-stemmed variety, as well as rhubarb chard (red stem), rainbow chard (colors from yellow, orange, even magenta!) and peppermint chard (white and pink). Generally we mix the colors in all the bunches, and there’s no real difference in terms of flavour.
Season: Chard is one of the earliest crops in the spring and goes late into the fall until frost. The leaves may be a bit smaller at the very beginning of the season, but overall it is very consistent throughout the entire season in terms of taste.
Storage Tips: Store your Chard in the fridge completely covered in a plastic bag. It can be slightly damp, but not wet. Eat asap as fresh greens always taste best and have the highest nutritional content when consumed quickly after harvest. It will keep in your fridge for at least a week.
Cooking Tips: You can saute chard just like beet greens, and it also makes an excellent soup paired with sausage and potatoes. Chard is great sauteed in oil or butter with garlic – cut the stems off first and saute for a couple minutes longer than the greens. Our favourite accompaniment with Chard is rice– the two flavours go great together, and you can even make Chard Rolls, which are like Cabbage Rolls but use Chard instead. There are so many possible variations of this recipe if you don’t like the traditional rice & tomato cabbage rolls – Google “Chard Rolls” for many great ideas! I highly recommend the traditional version, there’s something magical that happens when you combine rice, chard, and tomato sauce.
Try this Chard and Rice Pilaf Recipe shared by CSA member Kristen!