Chard Love

Is Swiss Chard the new spinach?  No, of course not.  It is, however, related to spinach and has similar nutritional qualities.  If you’re looking for another green to incorporate into your diet, chard grows well in the summer through autumn months, and is readily available due to it’s hardy nature.

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The stalk of the chard comes in three colors: red, white, and yellow. Often they are sold in mixed bunches labeled “rainbow chard”

 

Chard has been honored in ancient times for it’s healing abilities as a decongestant, acid neutralizer and purgative qualities.  The cooking time is slightly longer than spinach, and the flavor is similar, but it doesn’t leave that fuzzy feeling on your teeth that some people get from spinach.  I’ll admit that when I’m out on the prowl for my spinachjunkie fix, sometimes the chard catches my eye first, it really is a beautiful green.  It’s nutritional content adds to it’s allure.  An excellent source of vitamins C, E,and K, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron and manganese, but that’s not all, it’s also a good way to get your vitamin B6, calcium, protein, thiamine, zinc, niacin, folic acid and selenium.  It is known as a powerful anticancer food thanks to it’s combination of phytochemicals, carotenes, chlorophyll and soluble fiber.  Shall we get started?  Yes please!

Of course from farm to table is the most delicious way to enjoy chard.  Here chard grows happily in the sunshine next to carrots.  The natural sugar content in carrots off-sets the slightly bitter flavor of the greens when accompanying, either cooked with or served with.  Although I do not have the luxury of living on a farm, (haha! I suppose that’s not what many would consider it!) I have found that foods that grow together often taste great with each other.

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Once upon a farm in Maine
experimenting with red, white and yellow carrots.
experimenting with red, white and yellow carrots.

Five types of chard:

  • Bright Lights has multi-colored leaves and stem.
  • Fordhook Giant has glossy leaves with white veins and stems.
  • Lucullus has pale yellow-green leaves.
  • Perpetual spinach, or spinach beet has narrower stems and dark fleshy leaves.
  • Rhubarb chard or ruby chard has bright crimson leaf stalks and dark ruffled leaves.
  • Vulcan has dark green, sweet leaves and red stems.
  • White King has snow white stalks and deep green leaves.

And did you know that one cup of cooked chard provides 388.9 percent of your daily value of vitamin K?  Enjoy!

xoxo, margotjo

#spinachjunkie

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