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Fruit and Vegetable Guide

Photo of Swiss chard

Swiss chard

Summer, Autumn

Description: Swiss chard’s dark green, ruffled leaves are similar to spinach but chewier. Chard stems come in many colors all have similar flavor and cooking properties.

Selection: Choose bunches with dark green leaves and vividly colored stems. Leaves and stems should feel crisp and smell fresh and earthy.

Storage and handling: Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator, excess moisture removed, for 3-5 days. Before using, cut leaves away from the stems. Wash leaves in a series of bowls of cold water. Rinse stems and trim blemishes.

Preparation: Swiss chard stems are tougher than the leaves and require longer cooking time. Boil stems, cut into 1- to 2-inch lengths, about 8 minutes. Add leaves after the stems have cooked 5 minutes.

Serving suggestions: Very tender young chard leaves may be added to green salads. Cooked chard leaves may be chilled and dressed with vinaigrette. Add raw sliced stems or leaves to soups; allow 10 minutes to cook stems, 4-5 minutes for leaves. Marinate blanched stems in a vinaigrette and serve at room temperature. Combine cooked greens with eggs, milk, bread, and cheese and bake (SIS, p. 203).

Nutrients (when boiled): Vitamins A, C, E, K; calcium, iron, potassium; lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants; fiber.

1 lb raw = 5-6 cups
1 lb cooked = 2-3 cups

The Fruit and Vegetable Guide is reproduced here with permission of Herald Press, publisher of Simply in Season.

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