Chard is a versatile and nutrient-dense vegetable that is a favorite of home cooks and professional chefs alike. But what does chard look like? In this colorful guide, we’ll take a closer look at this delicious and nutritious vegetable, exploring its different varieties, colors, and textures in order to help you recognize it when you see it.
What is Chard?
Chard, also known as Swiss chard, is a leafy green vegetable that is closely related to beets and spinach. It is a cool-weather crop that is easy to grow, and it is a popular choice among home gardeners, chefs, and foodies alike. Chard is prized for its tender leaves and crisp stalks, as well as for its rich, earthy flavor.
Types of Chard
There are several different types of chard, each with its own unique set of characteristics.
- Green chard: This is the most common type of chard, with large, glossy green leaves and white stalks.
- Red chard: Also called Rhubarb chard, this type of chard has deep red stems and veins, with green leaves.
- Rainbow chard: As its name suggests, this type of chard comes in a variety of colors, including red, yellow, orange, and white. It has a slightly sweeter flavor than other types of chard, and its colorful stems and veins make it a popular choice for garnishing dishes.
Chard leaves are large, flat, and smooth, with a glossy finish that makes them easy to clean. They are slightly thicker than spinach leaves, but thinner than kale leaves, and they have a slightly waxy texture that helps them hold up well in the oven or on the grill.
Chard stalks, also called ribs or petioles, are thick and crisp, with a texture similar to celery. They come in a variety of colors, including white, red, and yellow, and they can be eaten raw, pickled, or cooked. In fact, many chard recipes call for the stalks to be separated from the leaves and cooked separately in order to preserve their crisp texture and sweet, nutty flavor.
How to Choose and Store Chard
When selecting chard at the grocery store or farmers market, look for leaves that are fresh and bright, with no signs of wilting or yellowing. The stalks should be firm and crisp, with no signs of browning or softness.
You can store chard in the refrigerator for up to a week by wrapping it in a damp paper towel and storing it in a plastic bag. Alternatively, you can cut the stems off and store them separately in a jar of water, as you would with flowers.
Cooking with Chard
Chard is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from salads and soups to stir-fries, omelets, and quiches.
When cooking with chard, it is important to note that the stalks require longer cooking times than the leaves. For this reason, many recipes will call for the stalks to be separated from the leaves and cooked separately, either by boiling or by sautéing them in a pan.
Chard is a nutrient-dense vegetable that is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In fact, it is one of the healthiest leafy greens you can eat, with a host of health benefits that include improved digestion, reduced inflammation, and a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
One cup of cooked chard contains:
|Vitamin A||214% of the daily value (DV)|
|Vitamin C||53% of the DV|
|Vitamin K||716% of the DV|
|Magnesium||29% of the DV|
|Potassium||27% of the DV|
If you’ve never tried chard before, you’re missing out on one of the healthiest and most delicious vegetables you can eat. With its tender leaves, crisp stalks, and rich, earthy flavor, chard is a versatile ingredient that can be used in everything from salads and soups to stir-fries and omelets. So the next time you’re at the grocery store or the farmers market, be sure to pick up a bunch of chard and give it a try!
Common Questions about Chard
- What is the difference between chard and spinach? While chard and spinach are both leafy green vegetables, they are actually quite different. Chard has thicker leaves and stems than spinach, and its flavor is richer and more earthy. Spinach, on the other hand, has a milder flavor and a more delicate texture.
- Is chard a good source of protein? While chard does contain some protein, it is not a particularly good source. One cup of cooked chard contains just 3 grams of protein, which is less than you would find in a slice of bread or a serving of yogurt.
- How do you prepare chard for cooking? To prepare chard for cooking, start by washing the leaves and stalks thoroughly under cold running water. Then, trim off the tough ends of the stalks and discard them. From there, you can either chop the leaves and stalks into bite-sized pieces, or separate the stalks from the leaves and cook them separately.
- Can you eat chard raw? Yes, you can eat chard raw. Chard leaves have a tender texture and a mild flavor that make them a great addition to salads and other cold dishes. However, because chard can be slightly bitter, you may want to blanch it briefly in boiling water before using it raw in order to mellow out the flavor.
- What is the best way to preserve chard? The best way to preserve chard is to wrap it in a damp paper towel and store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can cut the stems off and store them separately in a jar of water, as you would with flowers. Chard can also be frozen for later use, although it may lose some of its texture and flavor in the process.