Chard – Interesting Facts

From a botanical point of view, chard is classed as a root vegetable. It is related to beetroots and sugar beets, but with chard, both the leaves and the stalks can be eaten. Chard comes in many shapes and sizes – the stems can vary in colour from white to yellow, orange or red; their leaves come in different sizes, while some are flat and others more crumpled; and the stems can be thicker and more ribbed than others. All types of chard taste similar and some have a hint of asparagus.

Food Facts Food Facts

Chard

Class

beta

Calories

35 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

3.6 g carbohydrates, 1.3 g fibre, 0.3 g fat, 2.8 g protein per 100 g

Season

April to mid-November

Storage

wrap in a damp cloth and store in the refrigerator

Shelf life

up to two days

Chard – Origin and Nutritional Values

Chard is quite well known in Central European cuisine. It was supposedly imported by the Romans from the Far East and then introduced to the more northern areas. Chard experienced a forgotten period around the time when spinach entered the scene.

In terms of nutrients, chard and spinach are equally valuable. Chard is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as Beta-Carotene. It also contains potassium, magnesium and iron. Chard has a long season and is well suited to spring and autumn vegetables, pasta, potatoes and rice. The young leaves are harvested in spring and make a great addition to salads. By blanching and then freezing chard, you can have a supply of the leafy vegetable throughout the winter.

Chard – Cooking and Combinations

Preparing chard can be quite easy. Simply steamed with some rapeseed oil and salt, it makes for a very tasty side dish. The chard with the slightly thicker stems can often require a longer cooking time than the leaves, so it’s best to sauté the stems separately first. If you’ve never cooked chard before, a good idea is to follow a simple spinach recipe – the two vegetables not only have a similar taste, but also a similar cooking time and preparation method.

Chard, like spinach, makes a great vegetarian lasagne and a creamy sauce for pasta, and also goes well with cheese or fish such as salmon. A favourite is pesto with blanched chard, garlic, parmesan, rosemary, pumpkin seeds, olive oil and lemon juice and zest – simply puree all the ingredients and enjoy it with some pasta. 

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