Swiss chard is a tasty vegetable that you can add to your diet in various ways. It is also easy to prepare and store. You can find out how to store it here.
Swiss chard is a wholesome vegetable rich in magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K. Swiss chard’s shelf life can be increased by understanding the right storage techniques.
What is Swiss Chard?
A leafy green vegetable related to spinach and beets, Swiss chard is also known as swiss chard. The most distinguishing characteristic of chard is the color of its stalks. Swiss chard has white stalks that contrast with its dark green leaves, whereas Rainbow chard has colored stalks that range from dark red to bright yellow and orange.
Raw Swiss chard leaves have a soft texture and a bitter flavor. After being cooked, the harshness disappears and is replaced by a mild, sweet flavor akin to spinach. Swiss chard plants give nutritional value to various foods, including casseroles, stir-fries, soups, and stews.
How to Store Swiss Chard?
Chard can be kept for up to three days by wrapping it in paper towels that have been gently dampened and then placing it inside an open plastic bag.
Harvesting Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is an edible plant in the Amaranth family, which includes spinach and beets. It is a nutritional powerhouse rich in vitamins A, C, and K.
Swiss chard is a biennial vegetable. During its first growing season, it will not flower. Instead, it will produce large, thick leaves with a contrasting ribbed pattern. The leaves are also rich in magnesium and potassium, and the plant is high in iron.
Traditionally, chard is harvested when the plant is young. This is because older leaves may damage the terminal bud. However, Swiss chard can be frozen or stored in the fall when they are no longer in season.
To harvest Swiss chard, cut the leaves at the base of the plant. Use a sharp knife or garden scissors. Be careful not to cut the main stalk. Leaves are most commonly harvested when they are eight to twelve inches long.
After cutting the leaves, please place them in a bowl of ice water until they are cool. You can use them for soups, stews, or stir-fry recipes. If you plan to store the Swiss chard, you should freeze it in zipper-top bags.
For best results, you should plant Swiss chard seeds in a shallow layer of soil. In addition, you should water your seedlings well. Seed packets will provide you with information on the expected date of maturity.
Growing Swiss Chard in a Polar Climate
Growing Swiss chard in a polar climate isn’t as hard as it might seem. Although it’s considered a cold-hardy vegetable, it still needs protection over the winter months. A greenhouse, cold frame, or hoop house are all good ways to protect the plant from harsh temperatures. You can also freeze your harvest for later use.
Swiss chard is part of the beet family. It is considered a superfood because it is rich in minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron. It is also low in calories.
Ideally, you’ll want to grow Swiss chard in full sun, but it will tolerate some shade. The optimum temperature range for chard is 32 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your seedlings have sprouted, they should be spaced about two inches apart. Water them well. To promote vigorous growth, you can apply a slow-release organic nitrogen fertilizer.
When it’s time to harvest, snip the leaves about 6 inches long. You can keep the stems in water or store them in a plastic bag.
Swiss chard does well in containers. It can be frozen in a freezer storage bag. It can also overwinter in areas with warmer temperatures.
To keep your chard healthy, you should weed it regularly. Swiss chard plants need a steady supply of water. They are prone to disease. In addition, they can be affected by aphids and sap-sucking insects. There are a variety of insecticides you can use to control this problem.
The five flavonoids vitexin 2″-xyloside and its 6″-malonated derivative, kaempferol 3-gentiobioside, isorhamnetin 3-gentiobioside, and isorhamnetin 3-vicianoside were isolated from Swiss chard leaves of the cultivar “green.” “6”-Malonyl-2″-xylosyl vitexin’ is a brand-new flavonoid that occurs naturally. This is the first instance of a flavonoid C-glycoside described in nature and acylated with a dicarboxylic acid. Fresh leaves (green cultivar) had a flavonoid concentration between 2.4 and 3.0 mg/g fresh weight (f.w.). Only flavone C-glycosides (2.1–2.3 mg/g f.w.) were found in cultivar “yellow,” with no flavonols being found.
How to Store Swiss Chard in the Refrigerator?
If you take the right precautions, Swiss chard may stay fresh in the refrigerator for anywhere between a few days and a week.
1. Don’t wash it. Before placing your Swiss chard leaves in the refrigerator, avoid washing them. They will rot quickly if you expose them to dampness, especially too much moisture.
2. Wrap your chard in foil. Wrap your chard loosely in a wet cloth or piece of paper. The leaves won’t dry out or wilt as a result of this.
3. Hold on to the chard in a bag. Put your chard in a perforated or unsealed plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer.
What does Swiss Chard Look Like?
The stalks can be entirely one color, commonly red or white, or they can be a mixture of colors, with stems that are red, pink, orange, yellow, and white. The leaves are huge and dark green with noticeable ribbing. Although the hues will somewhat deteriorate during cooking, they are sure gorgeous to look uncooked. For obvious reasons, this cultivar is frequently referred to as Rainbow Chard or Bright Lights Swiss Chard.
How do I Buy Swiss Chard?
You can find Swiss chard in the produce section of supermarkets, usually near the kale, collard greens, or other sturdy lettuces. Look for firm, brightly colored stems and leaves that are glossy and smooth, without any brown or yellow spots. It is often sold in bunches.
How do you Cook Swiss Chard?
The entire leaf, the green leafy portion, and the stems can all be used. Although it takes a little longer to cook the stems than the leaves, the whole plant is edible and excellent. The leaves are bitter, and the stems have a mildly celery-like flavor.
As long as the stems aren’t too thick, you can omit this step if you like. Some people prefer to slice the stems out of the leaves and cook them separately. It can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, frittatas, and quiches in addition to being steamed or sautéed. You can eat young leaves uncooked in salads.
How to Freeze Swiss Chard?
You can freeze Swiss chard if you have a lot of extra from the summer and want to use it into the next season. Swiss chard can be stored frozen for up to a year. Use the instructions below to freeze your Swiss chard.
- Separate and wash the greens. Clean your fresh greens with cool running water before separating the leafy portion from the stalk with a sharp paring knife or your hands.
- Blanch your chard. Swiss chard retains its flavor better if it is blanched before freezing. You’ll need a sizable pot of boiling water and a sizable dish of ice water to blanch your chard. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, the chard leaves should be placed in boiling water. Remove the leaves from the hot water after one minute with a slotted spoon or tongs. (Depending on how much chard you’re freezing, you might need to do many small batches.) To stop the cooking, submerge the boiled leaves in a cold bath.
- Dry the Swiss chard by draining it. To drain the water from the blanched greens, place them in a strainer. With your hands, squeeze the chard to get rid of any extra water.
- Save your vegetables in the freezer for later use. Put the stems and leaves in separate freezer-safe bags that are sealed. To avoid freezer burn, take out any excess air from the bag. (If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can suction the extra air out of the bag with a straw.) Swiss chard packed in freezer bags should be kept in the freezer’s back section for at least a year.
5 Tips for Keeping Swiss Chard Fresh
There are a few general guidelines to remember while working with Swiss chard, regardless of whether you’re picking it from your garden or attempting to choose the best bunch at the farmer’s market. Use these suggestions to work with Swiss chard.
- Harvest when it is appropriate. If you cultivate Swiss chard, it’s critical to understand when to harvest it. When the stalks are between five and eight inches tall, and the outer leaves are still green and soft, Swiss chard is ready for harvest. Use a small, sharp knife or a pair of pruners to pull the oldest leaves from the plant before harvesting your chard plants. Don’t take the whole plant. You can pick later in the season because the young leaves will require more time to mature.
- Select the proper chard. When selecting Swiss chard from the grocery store, look for firm stems and leaves with vivid colors. Swiss chard beginning to wilt will have mushy leaves, discolored patches, and an unpleasant odor. Swiss chard with severe insect damage should be avoided.
- Prepare and wash the chard. The chard should be washed, dried, and stacked before the rough stems are cut off at the end. It would be impossible to eat these fibrous ends. Cut the stems from each leaf after folding it in half lengthwise. The clipped leaves should be piled and rolled up tightly before being cut into ribbons. Cut the stems into one- to two-inch pieces if you plan to use them.
- Keep the stems, too. Before cooking, the thick stems that resemble celery are frequently detached from the leaves, but the stems shouldn’t be discarded. They can be pickled, chopped for sautés, or used as vegetable sticks for dipping. Start them in the pan before adding the leaves because they take a little longer to cook.
- Make use of quickly. Within a week of picking or purchasing fresh chard, use it. Swiss chard that has been cooked should have the greens stored in an airtight container. In the fridge, cooked chard keeps for up to five days. Swiss chard can be defrosted by putting the freezer bag in a bowl, wrapping it in plastic wrap, and putting it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. You can add the frozen Swiss chard to your cooking medium if you’re using your greens for a stew or stir-fry.
Storing Swiss chard properly can help to extend its shelf life and maintain its freshness and flavor. Some effective methods include storing the chard in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel or cloth in the refrigerator, blanching and freezing the chard for longer-term storage, and storing the chard unwashed and untrimmed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Additionally, to prevent browning, it’s best to use the leaves within a few days of purchasing and always keep them hydrated by storing them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.