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Swiss Chard, A Nutritious Rainbow

Mangold or Swiss chard 'Rainbow' leaves isolated on white

“Deja vu! I’ve done this before!”

This was my reaction when I went looking for pictures of Swiss Chard.

Is this Rhubarb?

Nope, but I can see how it could be mistaken for it. Maybe you have done the same. They both have long stalks and large leaves at the top but Swiss Chard has more colorful options and you can eat these leaves. Swiss chard is like a nutritious spring time rainbow from the garden.

Katie Workman at the Food Network has a similar opinion. “Chard always has green leaves, but the stalks can be a variety of colors. Rainbow chard is an assortment of different varieties, with stalks of red, pink, orange, yellow and white. The colors will fade somewhat in the cooking process, but boy are they pretty to look at when uncooked! Chard stems take a little longer to cook than the leaves, but the whole plant is edible and delicious. It’s a little bit sweet in the stems (which have a slight celery-like flavor) and pleasantly bitter in the leaves. Some people prefer to remove the stems from the leaves and cook them separately. If the stems are thin and tender, this step can be skipped.”

The writers at Food Facts helped me feel better about mistaking swiss chard for rhubarb. “Swiss Chard is known by many names, including silver beet, spinach beet, perpetual spinach, bright lights, crab beet, and sea kale beets. In South Africa, however, it is simply called spinach. It has been around for centuries, but has been confused with beets and other vegetables like cardoon because of their physical similarities. Swiss chard comes in various types depending on shine, crunchy stalks, and petiole. There’s the green stalk (Lucullus), Red stalk (Charlotte, Rhubarb chard), and multi-color stalks (bright lights).” I love all the colors and will be cautious of the red ones.

The Swiss have great chocolate, army knives and watches. I wonder if swiss chard is just as wonderful. Well, I recently learned that swiss chard was discovered by a swiss botanist but is not necessarily from Switzerland. Angela at Vegangela explains that “the word Swiss was used to distinguish it from French spinach varieties in 19th century seed catalogs. But in reality, it’s roots trace back to Sicily and is mostly associated with Mediterranean cuisine where it is still popular today. It has shiny green ribbed leaves that fall between spinach and kale in terms of toughness and bitterness – so it’s actually one of the most versatile greens for cooking. It is high in vitamins A, K and C, and is also rich in iron, potassium, dietary fiber and protein. It usually has a fair bit of dirt on the leaves, so it needs a good cleaning under cold water before using. Once washed, it should be wrapped in paper towels and refrigerated for up to 4 days”

Now that we have our swiss chard ready, what are we going to make with it?

Chloe Thompson from WebMD has a recipe for Swiss Chard Potato Frittata.
Genius Kitchen suggests trying Sautéed Swiss Chard.
Bon Appetit has 31 other creative ideas for Swiss Chard.
And here is proof that even a kid will eat Swiss Chard from The Nourishing Cook.

I hope you have fun with this colorful vegetable over, and over again.

Eat, Live & GoFresh!

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