Get The Most Out of Your Swiss Chard from Backyard Eats
Harvesting Swiss Chard
When It’s Ready
- Ready for harvest when plants are established (4-6 weeks after planting)
- When the plants are about 9″ tall and the leaves are large enough to eat
- Snap or cut mature leaves at the base near its connection to the crown
- Harvest the biggest couple of leaves from each plant
- Leave smaller inner leaves to continue growing. New leaves will grow for harvest in 1-2 weeks
Growing Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that is similar to spinach and beet greens. It has a slightly bitter and earthy flavor, with a slightly sweet taste that becomes more pronounced when cooked. Swiss chard can be sautéed as a side dish, simmered in a soup, or added to a stir fry for a fresh flavor and bite.
Storing Swiss Chard
Fresh is best for this vegetable, but here are some tips if you can’t cook the day of harvest.
Fresh Storage: Place in airtight bags or containers and refrigerate. Don’t crush leaves, but it’s ok to compress gently to save on bag space.
Long-Term Storage: Freeze whole leaves: Blanch in boiling water, dunk in ice bath to retain color, dry, and freeze in storage bag.
Cooking With Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a fibrous green. This means it needs to be cooked with some water over a period of time before it’s palatable. In a sauté or soup recipe, add the fibrous stems 5 minutes before adding the tender leaves to ensure even cooking, or omit the stems. You can use Swiss chard in place of spinach in most recipes.
- Sautéed Swiss Chard: Remove the stems from Swiss chard leaves, then chop the leaves into strips. Sauté them in olive oil with garlic, onions, and a pinch of red pepper flakes until wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Swiss Chard Salad: Slice Swiss chard leaves into thin ribbons and toss them with a vinaigrette dressing, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese. The hearty and slightly bitter leaves of Swiss chard make for a nutritious and flavorful salad.
- Swiss Chard Wraps: Use Swiss chard leaves as a substitute for tortillas or wraps. Fill them with your favorite ingredients, such as roasted vegetables, grains, beans, or grilled chicken, for a healthy and gluten-free alternative.
- Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup: Sauté chopped Swiss chard stems and leaves with onions, garlic, and carrots. Add vegetable or chicken broth, white beans, and herbs. Simmer until the flavors meld together, creating a comforting and nourishing soup.
- Swiss Chard Stir-Fry: Stir-fry Swiss chard leaves and stems with other vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, and tofu or meat. Add soy sauce, ginger, and garlic for a flavorful and nutritious stir-fry.