May 19, 2011

What to do with Swiss Chard

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Swiss Chard is easy to grow, tolerates the heat, and has a long growing season.  Because of this, many farmers and home gardeners choose to make it part of their annual plantings.  If you signed up for a CSA this year, chances are, you’ll be eating a lot of it.  While it isn’t my favorite of foods, I have experimented with many variations of recipes and below are our favorites of them.

Food preservation Method

Dehydrate—my friend Honor has been dehydrating many greens  (kale, chard, turnip greens) and plans to use them later in the year for soups and stews.  They dehydrate quickly and store compactly.

Food prep

Give the chard a good rinse, paying special attention to the ribs where bugs and dirt like to hide.  Chop the tip end of the stem near the roots off.  The stem is completely edible, but it takes longer to cook.  Chop the end pieces and set them in a separate container.  Cut the leaves in large pieces, as they will cook down a good amount.

The recipes

Basic Chard

1 clove garlic sliced thinly

1-2 T. olive oil

1 bunch of chard (or about 6-8 large leaves)

salt, pepper

1-2 T. red wine vinegar

Sauté the garlic with the stems in olive oil on medium-high for about 1-2 minutes.  Be careful not to let the garlic burn.  Add the chard and season.  Stir frequently until the leaves have turned a deep green and they are tender.  Add red wine vinegar.

Chard with Currants (from my friend Honor)

1 clove garlic sliced thinly

2-4 T. olive oil

1 bunch of chard (or about 6-8 large leaves)

salt, pepper

1/4-1/2 c. currents or raisins

boiling water

1/2 cup pine nuts

Pour boiling water over raisins or currants and set aside.  Sauté stems in olive oil for about 2 minutes and then add leaves and cook another few minutes until tender.  Drain, squeeze out any excess moisture with the back of your spoon.  Set aside.  In remaining olive oil, sauté garlic and add pine nuts, cooking for 2-3 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the nuts and garlic.  Drain currants and add them to the chard.  Toss in the garlic, nut, and oil mixture and serve.

Italian Chard (from my friend Honor)  Shown in photo above

2 cloves garlic sliced thinly

1 small red onion or shallot, sliced in rings

2-4 T. olive oil

1 bunch of chard (or about 6-8 large leaves)

salt, pepper

Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon

2-5 large leaves of basil, torn into small pieces

Squeeze lemon and add zest to juice.  Set aside.  Sauté the garlic and onion with the stems in olive oil on medium-high for about 1-2 minutes.  Be careful not to let the garlic burn.  Add the chard and season.  Stir frequently until the leaves have turned a deep green and they are tender.  Add lemon and zest.  Just before serving toss in the basil.

Sweet Chard (our favorite thus far)

1-2 T. olive oil

1 bunch of chard (or about 6-8 large leaves)

salt

1/4 c. dark brown sugar

Sauté the stems in olive oil on medium-high for about 1-2 minutes.  Add the chard and season.  Stir frequently until the leaves have turned a deep green and they are tender.  Add 1/4 c. brown sugar and stir.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post.. Ironically, a recent customer convinced me to add Swiss Chard into my garden as well telling me how good it was mixed into salads. I brought home 6 plants of it and now have them growing as well. I'll definitely be using some of your recipes! Thanks!

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  2. Thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes. I plan on trying them out this summer.

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  3. I have 15 sweet chards growing in my garden and am very excited to prepare it....thank you

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