Swiss Chard: usage, recipes… Enjoy!

 

June 20, 2012 swiss chard in field

 

Chard: The common beetroot evolved from the leafy Swiss Chard. Chard is high in vitamins A, E, and C, and minerals like iron and calcium. Minerals are more readily absorbed from chard than they are from spinach, chard also contains no oxalic acid, and element present in spinach that tends to bind minerals and render them unavailable during digestion.

Chard: Cooking Tips:

  • wash leaves by swishing in water bath. soil and particles will float away.
  • if leaves are large and mature, remove stems to cook separately. Young, tender leaves can be cooked whole.
  • Chop leaves and stems diagonally across the leaf. Cut stems into 1 inch chunks and leaves into ribbonlike strips. Steam stem pieces 8-10 minutes, leaves 4-6 minutes.
  • Raw baby chard leaves are wonderful in green salads. Many salad mixes include them.
  • Saute the leaves in garlic butter or with onion.
  • Include chard in stir-fries with different colored and textured veggies. Serve over rice or noodles.
  • For soups, add stem 10 minutes and leaves 4-5 minutes before soup is done.
  • Use swiss chard in any recipe calling for fresh spinach, like quiches, lasagna, omelets, etc.
  • Chard freezes well. Blanch chopped leaves for 3 minutes, rinse under cold water to stop cooking process, drain, squeeze lightly, and place in an airtight container such as a zip-lock freezer bag.”

fresh, raw “greens”

  • wash well in cool water bath to remove fine grit. (spin dry in your salad spinner. dry is good!)
  • try a salad mix of varied baby greens with no lettuce at all, or dilute down a pungent blend by tearing in extra lettuce.
  • many salad greens taste excellent lightly braised, sauteed, or stir-fried. Watch out! They cook very quickly.
  • Use salad greens to decorate a platter.
  • Toss green salad with dressing at the last minute to avoid sogginess.
  • toss salad with your choice of fresh herb leaves, such as basil, cilantro, dill or parsley.
  • pile your favorite salad greens into sandwiches, tacos, burritos, or omelets.
  • cook and add greens to quiches, lasagna, or other baked goods.

cooked greens

  • be careful not to overcook. overcooked greens will be mushy, tasteless, and significantly reduced in nutrition.
  • greens will cook down approx. 1/4 to 1/8 original volume.
  • boil greens 2-4 minutes, or steam 5-8 minutes, depending on maturity and toughness of greens. watch for the color to brighten; this signals cooking is complete or nearly complete. colors will darken and fade in vibrancy when overcooked.
  • baby greens are excellent for sauteeing, larger, more mature greens for stir-frying – add them toward the end of the cooking time – anywhere from 2-5 minutes is usually adequate for both.
  • most greens are interchangable, though pungency does vary.
  • greens add color, texture and flavor to soups and stews.
  • serve cooked greens simply. Toss with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Or, toss with sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Or, toss with a lemon vinaigrette. Or, top with a pat of butter or totally plain!
  • mix greens into omelets, quiches, lasagna, and casseroles.
  • saute pre-cooked greens in garlic butter and onion.
  • baby greens make an excellent raw salad.

“Most garden greens love cool weather. They grow quickly and will be among the first vegetables of the season in spring and the final leafy ones in the fall.

Their vibrancy and freshness are a gift of flavor and health. Greens are packed with nutrition. Properly prepared, greens offer generous amounts of vitamins A and C, some B vitamins, and folic acid, as well as minerals such as calcium and iron. Greens are very high in dietary fiber and low in calories. In the health world, dark leafy greens also receive attention for their roles in disease prevention.”

(Source: From Asparagus to Zucchini. MACSAC.) 

Freezing Greens (kale, collard, chard, spinach)

Wash your greens thoroughly and cut out thick stems.  Cut the greens into large pieces.  Boil a large pot (2 gallons) of water and blanch the greens for 2 minutes, you can use a wire basket, mesh bag or metal strainer and I have also just dunked and used a large slotted spoon to scoop them out.  Put batches in that are small enough to avoid matting the leaves.  Start the timer as soon as you put the greens in the water and stir them or cover them for the 2 minutes.  Prolonged blanching causes loss of all those good vitamins and minerals and under blanching will stimulate the activity of enzymes that ruin flavor for longer term freezer storage.  Once the two minutes is up put them in a bath of water ice water to stop the cooking process.  The greens should be stirred several times while cooling and about 2 minutes of cooling time is enough.  Once the greens are cooled, drain them and pack into freezer jars leaving 1/4 inch head space or in freezer bags.  The greens are great for adding into any recipe you would add frozen spinach.

 

"juvie" swiss chard June 2013

 

recipe: Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts

The classic Mediterranean preparation of Swiss Chard is one of our favorite ways to enjoy greens. The chard’s silky, earthy flavor is nicely balanced in taste and texture with the pine nuts and raisins. This dish sits comfotably on the side of just about any entree. It makes a great bed for grilled meats, it’s wonderful stuffed in roasted portabella mushrooms, and it makes an outstanding pizza topping. It’s even been known to make its way inside a grilled cheese sandwich. You can make the same recipe with spinach.

serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 1/2 – 2 pounds swiss chard, rinsed, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup raisins

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt

freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in large skillet, med-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook 1 minute more.

2. Add chard in batches, adding more as each batch wilts (the only water you will need is the water clinging to the leaves from rinsing), and keep the pan covered between batches. When all the chard is added and the leaves are wilted, stir in ther raisins, pine nuts, lemon juice, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

(Source: Farmer John’s Cookbook. Angelic Organics.)

 

swiss chard

Pasta with Swiss Chard 

Thought I’d try something a little different this time – linking you to the recipe, online. Allrecipes.com is one of many, many online recipe resources. Check it out, you can find recipes to your heart’s content!

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