Freshly harvested Swiss chard (and what you can do with it)

Do you know what Swiss chard is? Well, it’s not kale… And it’s not like kale, either.

Kale’s leaves are much tougher than the leaves of the colourful-stemmed Swiss chard. If I had to compare the chard to something similar, I would say it’s kind of like spinach.

So what does one do with this chard?

Lots. It’s quite versatile.

It can be used fresh in salads when the leaves are small and young.

It can be steamed or fried or tossed in oil as a side to a protein.

You can cook like spinach.

Chop it and drop it into soups or stews…

The sky’s the limit.

I like it paired in tomato sauces. And being anemic, I like using the stems, too. They’re a good source of iron, and since I cook with a cast iron pan…more iron and better absorption, too.

My favorite way to use chard is in ground beef and tomato-based spaghetti sauces. Or with meatballs. 🍝

This year, I planted a bunch of chard and they turned out extremely well. My dad would have been thrilled; last year both my and my mom’s chard didn’t grow well, there was some sort of insect infestation…

I’ve been lucky this year. And, the wildlife didn’t clue in either and stayed away. 😃

I have lots of harvest.

Swiss chard along the right side of the bed. The rest is mecslun lettuce and arugula.

 

I decided to process some for winter use.

First I blanched and chopped the stems, and scooped into extra-large ice cube trays.

Chopped Swiss chard stems.

 

Next I blanched the leaves, chopped them, and scooped them into a similar ice cube tray.

Blanched Swiss chard placed in ice water to cool immediately.
Chopped Swiss chard leaves.

 

I’m looking forward to dumping these frozen cubes of deliciousness into my comfort foods during hockey season.

Oh wait, hockey season is already on…it’s all weird this year. I mean, the NHL is in playoffs in August…🙃

You know what I mean though, right? Youth hockey season and hungry hockey playing teenagers requesting pasta with meatballs every other day…

But I digress.

Anyway, I noticed that my pot of water in which I blanched the stems and leaves had this lovely colour.

Nutritious water from the blanched Swiss chard.

 

I thought there must be all sorts of nutrition in that pot, so I let it cool, poured it into freezer containers, and they’re ready to be frozen. I will add to soups and things in winter.

Brilliant, right?

The leftover, I poured on the flower boxes. 🌸🌻🌺🌹

Next time you’re at a farmer’s market, check out the chard, especially if you haven’t used it before.

Happy cooking and eating!

How’s that for a diversion away from the computer?

 

17 thoughts on “Freshly harvested Swiss chard (and what you can do with it)

  1. I love chard. I love kale, too, but the other half won’t touch kale. So I grow chard and bok choi. They’ve both been an unqualified success this year. I never thought of processing and freezing. Hmmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like my meat chard. Does that count?

    Interesting technique, saving the water for soups and stews and adding it to your flower boxes. Whenever I do a water change in the aquarium, I dump the dirty water in the garden. Tara says it’s excellent for plants. Note: I do not add it to soups and stews. Probably for the better.

    Liked by 1 person

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