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Crops & Varieties: Chard

Rainbow chard

Quick tips
These greens are much more tender than most greens, so they will cook much more quickly than most.

As you would with other greens, to clean, cut off the hard ends, vigorously swoosh the greens in cold water, lift them out of the water (leaving the dirt on the bottom of the bowl).

Strip the leaf from the stem, and give the stems a head start when cooking.  Leaves are more delicate and can be prepared like spinach -- they don't need much cooking. Ribs (or stalks) are juicy and tender. When cooked they can add a silky texture to many dishes. They can be chopped and sauteed or added raw to salads or on pizza.
 
If cooking a dish that contains both the ribs and the leaves, add the ribs first, as they will need a head start — the leaves only need a few minutes total to be cooked thoroughly.

Most of the time, it’s a good idea to blanch the leaves (plunging them into salted, boiling water for a minute or two and then quickly dip them into cold water to stop the cooking). Blanching removes some of the water and brings out the bright, intense color of the chard.

One of the best ways to serve chard is simply sautéed with a splash of olive oil, perhaps a touch of garlic and a squeeze of lemon. Chard makes for beautiful stir-fries. It’s a natural for fillings – omelets, tarts, and pasta (lasagna and ravioli). Added to soups, it boosts flavor and nutrition.



Storage

Wash only when you’re about to use it.  If it’s looking tired, it can be easily refreshed by soaking the leaves in cold water.

As with lettuce and most greens, store wrapped in a damp paper towel and keep in a perforated or produce bag in your fridge’s produce drawer.
 
Recipes

From Simply in SeasonSweet & Sour Rainbow Chard
 
Daily Unadventures in Cooking: Spaghetti and Swiss Chard
 

From TMF's Sheila: Stem Sauté (PDF)


Blanching: 90 sec – 2 mins leaves; 3-4 mins ribs
Boiling: 5-10 mins leaves; 10-12 mins ribs
Braising: 20-40 mins
Sauteing: 2-3 mins leaves; 3-4 mins ribs
Steaming: 3-6 mins leaves; 10-14 mins ribs
Stir Frying: 2-3 mins

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