Posts tagged ‘Chard’

October 6, 2011

It’s Back!

Did your really think after being the food of the month you would never hear of my dear chardy again?  Get real.  It’s still exploding out of the garden.  I just can’t eat it anymore.  So now we are in preservation mode.  Have you heard of the game Bop It?  It a bit similar to freezing chardy.  It goes a little something like this.

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And freeze it!  Eat it in the middle of winter when you need a nutrient pick-me-up.  Sun

I can’t wait to use it for lasagna, pizza toppings, omelet fillers and who knows what!

What’s you favorite game?

Bop it is a classic, especially when you have a dirty mind.  Hehe!  Winking smile

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August 29, 2011

Eat the Rainbow!

We affectionately call it “ Kirkchardy” in our house (definitely click the link if you are an ‘N Sync fan), but it has other names that might be more familiar to you. Swiss chard, silver beet, perpetual spinach or bright lights are all on the list.

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Chard is known for the beautiful assortment of colors in its stems. The pink, fuchsia, yellow, and dark and bright green are so lovely that some choose to grow chard in their flower garden. The leaves are various shades of green and correspond perfectly to the vibrant stems. I personally love that it brings new colors to my vegetable garden AND I get to eat it. Double functionality.

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At the beginning of the season you can harvest young small leaves. They are tender enough to eat raw in salads. As the season goes on the plant will pretty continuously produce if you take stalks and leaves from the outside layer. Unlike many leafy greens, chard can survive the heat of the middle and end of summer. It will last right through until the fall. The leaves can eventually grow quite large. Mine are about twice the size of my face right now! It seems the light green, sometimes called silver, is producing the largest leaves in my garden. The fuchsia and pink have the next largest leaf size. The yellow, although my personal favorite, are the smallest and are on average about the size of my hand.

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The larger stalks and leaves are a bit tougher and are best if cooked. Chard has a slightly bitter taste, but the bitterness fades with cooking. Check out the chard link in the food of the month tab for more recipes. I personally love to sauté it with fruit, but chard is hearty and versatile. It can be used in place of any greens such as spinach or kale. Add it to soups, omelets, pizza, or pasta.

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Here I sautéed it with mango.  It definitely added color to my plate.

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As with most greens, chard is best when picked fresh. And luckily, it’s extremely easy to grow. I dropped my seeds into rows, covered them, watered them, and they did the rest. They required no special soil or care and are growing beautifully. If you are buying chard from the grocery store or pick an overabundance (that’s me), chard stores quite nicely if done properly. I wash and chop the stems and leaves. Stems go into a sealed storage container. Leaves get a good whirl in a salad spinner.

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I store the leaves right in the salad spinner, pulling from it as I need. Mine has lasted about a week before turning wilted and unappetizing. If you don’t have a salad spinner, after giving them a good wash I would dry them well and store in a produce saving bag with some paper towels.

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Nutritionally, chard is most definitely a super food.  It is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, thanks to the variety of pigments in the stems and leaves!  Some even say it’s one of the world’s healthiest vegetables, second only to spinach!

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Chard Stats

1 cup, chopped & cooked

35 calories

0 grams fat

3.3 grams protein

7.2 grams carbohydrate

3.7 grams dietary fiber

961 mg potassium

102 mg calcium

58 mg phosphorus

151 mg magnesium

4 mg iron

16 mcg folate

275 mcg Vitamin A

32 mg Vitamin C

3.3 mg Vitamin E

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Have I made you want to try it yet?

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