A member of the beet family with stellar nutritional credentials, chard (a.k.a. Swiss chard) is a Mediterranean favorite with
deep red or green leaves and an earthy, slightly bitter taste.
Season: Year-round; peaks June through August.
How to Choose Chard
The varieties of Swiss chard differ in looks only. The taste is the same. Bunches of rainbow chard (top) are composed of leaves that can have yellow, red, or orange ribs. Red chard (center) is red-stemmed. And white chard (bottom) has a, yes, white stem. Always look for firm, bright green leaves and stiff ribs with no brown spots or holes. The smaller the leaves, the sweeter their taste. (Large leaves and stems are often chewy.)
How to Store Chard
Wrap Swiss chard loosely in slightly damp paper towels, then place in a plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Wash just before using.
How to Prepare Chard
Small leaves can be cooked with the stalks attached. Remove the stalks from larger leaves; because they can be tough, they need a few minutes’ head start in the cooking pot. See illustrations of how to prepare Swiss chard.
How to Use Chard
Stir chard into stews and soups, or blanch or saute it like spinach. The stalks can be prepared as you would asparagus. Smaller rainbow chard leaves and their (finely sliced) stalks of brilliant fuchsia, sunny yellow, pink, and white are colorful additions to a salad.
Real Simple Chard Recipes:
- Swiss Chard and Chickpea Fritters With Yogurt
- Stuffing With Mushrooms, Chestnuts, and Swiss Chard
- Sausage and Chard Sauté With Polenta
- Chickpeas With Chard and Pan-Roasted Tomatoes
- Pork Chops With Chard and White Beans
Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.
Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.