Brighten Up your Dinner Table with Colorful Swiss Chard
Growing Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your home garden. You can either buy starter plants or plant your own seed. Plant a few starter plants to get an early crop and then plant your own seed to provide you with multiple crops through out the growing season.
Chard can be cooked or eaten fresh. I like to walk through the vegetable garden or even the garden center, tear off a small leaf and savor the sweet pungent flavors that the swiss chard offer.
Cooking Swiss Chard
It takes a large pot full of chard to provide you with a meal since this green leafy vegetable cooks down to about a tenth of its original volume. A wide variety of chard can be found in your different seed catalogs.
- 'Fordhook Giant' is an old standby that will provide you with large deep green leaves without a wide midrib.
- Golden chard will supply you with yellow golden foliage and a pale midrib.
- A new variety 'Charlotte', developed in Switzerland is an improved rhubarb chard that is mild and slightly sweet.
- 'Ruby Red' chard is very colorful although, when it is cooked, looks like chopped liver.
- 'Bright Lights' chard contains all the colors of the rainbow including purple, red, yellow, orange, green, and pink. Just pick the young leaves and toss them in your favorite salad.
A great recipe for chard is to pick enough volume that equals 4 quarts.
- Prior to cooking chop the leaves and stems of your chard into 1-2” pieces (the long stems or midribs can become stringy after they are cooked).
- Add a small amount of water to your pot and steam until tender. Be careful not to cook at too high of a temperature or you may burn the leaves.
- Once tender, remove from the stove and drain off the water.
While the chard is cooking:
- Take 2 cups of heavy cream and reduce it to 1 cup over medium heat (bring to a boil).
- At the same time dice 1 small Spanish onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic.
- Sauté onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons of butter until lightly browned and add this to the cooked cream.
- Pour this mixture over the drained swiss chard . . .
and enjoy a meal that will taste even better than spinach.
Some people replace the heavy cream with cottage cheese. Gently press the excess water from the cooked chard and mix in the cottage cheese and sautéed onions and garlic.
One tip is to make sure that the chard is not too hot or your meal will become watery.
At the dinner table tell everyone that is a new, un-named colorful vegetable. Even people who dislike spinach will love your colorful Swiss chard.