A Chard Days Night
By Chelsea Fisher
Swiss chard has had to work hard for recognition on the American dinner table. Cooks are often reluctant to tackle its huge green leaves and strong spine—what to do with it? But chard deserves a second look, since each leaf is a wonder of nutrition.
Containing a potpourri of important vitamins and minerals, one cup of cooked chard contains an amazing 214% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A and 53% of vitamin C, both important nutrients for a healthy immune system. Chard is also a source of iron, vitamin K, and fiber. It is also a source of the phytochemical lutein, an antioxidant the American Institute For Cancer Research reports may help protect against cancer and other illness.
While it may look daunting, chard is actually more user friendly than it looks. Watch our video on preparing chard to learn how to prepare it fast and easy. Chard actually tastes a lot like spinach when cooked, and it can be used in a variety of ways and in many recipes. It’s at the peak of its growing season in the fall, so when possible, purchase locally for freshness and taste.
Chard comes in several varieties, with stems that range from ivory white, through yellow, to ruby red. Buy chard with deep green, crisp, springy-looking leaves. The stems should be brightly colored and free of bruising.
When cooking soft leafy greens such as chard, either quickly steam them using just the water that clings to their leaves or sauté them until they wilt, in order to keep vitamin and mineral values high. Chard stems, which are hearty, need more time to cook, so always cook them separately from the more delicate leaves. For simple steamed chard try Cook For Your Life’s Steamed Chard recipe. Chard also works well in combination with legumes and grains. Try our Chickpea and Chard Chermoula, a Moroccan style stew with garbanzos or Brown Rice and Chard Risotto an easy dish that uses chard with a healthy whole grain brown rice.