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Cool season greens: Swiss Chard

Updated on October 7, 2015

Stalks striped in hot pink and white

Peppermint stick chard is a Renee's Garden exclusive. Add baby leaves to mixed greens salad.
Peppermint stick chard is a Renee's Garden exclusive. Add baby leaves to mixed greens salad.

A new variety of chard

Peppermint Stick Chard. Beautiful crispy stalks striped in hot pink and white with big, bright green leaves.
Peppermint Stick Chard. Beautiful crispy stalks striped in hot pink and white with big, bright green leaves. | Source

Leafy chard replaces spinach in recipes

Chard is a leafy green perfect to fill the garden spaces that once held warm season crops like tomatoes and peppers. Poke a few chard seed in any sunny, empty garden or container space.

Try young, tender leaves of chard as an addition to salads or sandwich greens. The colorful ribs of chard make this vegetable worthy of growing in containers and garden borders. Plants are attractive enough to fill in for anuals as flowers fade in the heat.

Chard is a good leafy green to fill in the garden space once used to grow salad greens. Chard is attractive enough to be in the border of any herb of flower garden. It's a good choice for succession planting.

Chard is a beautiful and fast growing green in sunny to partly sunny locations. I plant chard (or kale) to fill in when cool season lettuce crops have been harvested. It will grow well in containers.

Chard can do double duty in the garden and also in the kitchen. It can fill in as an ornamental plant and is a delicious replacement for spinach in most recipes. "Plug" it in the blank spaces of your garden. Plant again when cooler weather returns.

Gardeners who have not tried chard, can find it in most seed catalogs. I buy chard seed at Burpee, and Renee's Garden. Most garden seed catalogs sell several varieties of chard.

Swiss chard is related to spinach and beets. Along with kale, mustard greens and collard greens, it is one of several leafy green vegetables often referred to as "greens." It is a superstar vegetable loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Chard is a leafy green often mixed and cooked with other greens, like collards, mustard greens, kale. It is strong, salty and sometimes bitter. Boiling chard for three minutes will reduce the pungent flavor (discard the liquid).

Snack attack

Bake chard (or kale) to make healthy chips for snacking.

Good greens and chips

Chard Chips

Chard Chips or kale chips are quick and easy snack.

Bake chard (or kale) to make healthy chips for snacking. Rinse leaves and dry. Cut or tear in to desired chip sizes.

Spread them on a cookie sheet. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray lightly with oil. Sprinkle with salt, optional.

Bake for 7 minutes to 10 minutes. Chard has baked when crisp.

Powerhouse greens

Chard is best when young, keep outer leaves picked. White stems are more tender than the colored stems. Photo by PBH
Chard is best when young, keep outer leaves picked. White stems are more tender than the colored stems. Photo by PBH

Green Rice Recipe

Fresh picked chard may look like a lot of food. But a big skillet of chopped chard will cook down to maybe a cup or two of greens. Keep picking the larger outer leaves to increase production.

Cook chard and refrigerate or freeze in recipe sized portions.

Green Rice is fast and easy. Use left over rice or chard in this recipe. Make it your own, by spicing it up with hot pepper flakes or adding more onion. Try replacing cheddar with Swiss cheese. Make Green Rice a hardy main dish by adding a bit of chopped ham or crumbled bacon.

This recipe is flexible. Be creative.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: 4 main dish sevings or 6 side dish serving

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked chopped greens, chard or spinach
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 3 Cups rice, cooked brown or white
  • ¼ Cup cheddar cheese (or Swiss), shredded

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together, except cheese. Pour into a sprayed 2 quart casserole. Sprinkle with cheese.
  2. Bake 45 minutes at 350, let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Rate this Green Rice Recipe

5 stars from 1 rating of Green Rice Casserole

Stir fry chard

Look for crisp, vibrant green leaves with no yellowing. The freshest chard has crisp stems with no browning.
Look for crisp, vibrant green leaves with no yellowing. The freshest chard has crisp stems with no browning. | Source

Harvest young tender leaves

Continue picking only the outer leaves to stimulate growth and extend production.
Continue picking only the outer leaves to stimulate growth and extend production. | Source

Edible landscapping

Chard grows quickly to fill in vacant spaces in your garden or landscape design. Awarded the AAS, All-America Selection, and an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticulture Society.

"Bright Lights" has a rainbow of stalk colors. The 20-inch tall plant has stalks of yellow, orange, pink, crimson, purple, or white. Chard is a member of the beet family, though we eat the root of the beets and the leaves of chard.

Spring planted seed will grow until midsummer. In fall plant again. Chard will grow through a light frost and will continue to grow in cool weather and until a hard freeze.


Comments

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  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    It is a hub for you.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    4 years ago from The Beautiful South

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    4 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Thank you for your kind words. Chard is such a colorful vegetable, I even grow it in containers for the amazing colors.

  • sgbrown profile image

    Sheila Brown 

    4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

    Chard sounds like something I would really like to plant in late summer or early fall. I love greens! Your recipe really sounds good! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    8 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Make this recipe your own, by adding pine nuts, or top with bread crumbs. Substitute cheddar with hot pepper or Swiss cheese.

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