August 28th, 2017

Get Your Chard On!

by Juliet Glass

Green smoothie aficionados may have recently begun singing Swiss chard’s praises, but record of its health benefits date back to Aristotle, who wrote about its medicinal use by ancient Greeks and Romans. In modern times, Swiss chard has been gracing plates since the 1700s when a Swiss botanist is said to have “discovered” the crop– hence the name Swiss. Swiss chard, along with other leafy greens, can withstand the winter frost and is at peak season in the fall and spring months, but it is generally available at Maryland markets beginning in late summer. Swiss chard is in the Amaranthaceae family, along with spinach and quinoa.

Swiss chard is heart healthy. It is full of magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, and calcium, all which which aid in red blood cell formation and help control blood pressure.

Swiss chard adds a rainbow within the green leafy vegetables, as its stems can display beautiful yellow, pink, and red. Choose Swiss chard with a vibrant stem and dark green, crisp leaves. Avoid Swiss chard with dried out stems and split or browning leaves.

Swiss chard can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Swiss chard is best when still crisp; check in on Swiss chard to ensure its crispy and firm texture. Like other leafy greens, you can revive limp Swiss chard by immersing it in water and storing it in your refrigerator overnight.

To extend the life of your chard or for use later, try blanching and freezing.

To Blanch:

Wash Swiss chard and chop into bite size pieces.

Boil Swiss chard for five minutes.

Place in ice water bath for five minutes.

Dry the Swiss chard completely.

Place in freezer safe bag or container with little air in freezer.

Can be kept for up to a year. Portion Swiss chard before freezing for an easy defrost.

We love this simple braised braised chard with cilantro. For a hearty vegetarian main course, try this garlicky swiss chard with garbanzos.

Mediterranean Swiss Chard with Potatoes from Food52


3 medium size potatoes

1 pound Swiss chard

2 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Peel the potatoes and dice them into 1 inch pieces. Fill a large pot with water, add potatoes, pinch of salt, and bring to a boil.

Trim about 1/2 inch off the chard’s stems and chop it up into 2 inch pieces

When potatoes are tender, add the chard and cook for about 10 minutes or until the stem pieces are tender. Drain in a colander.

Return back into the pot. Dress with olive oil, add finely chopped garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir well and mash with a fork. Serve warm or room temperature.

About the Author Juliet Glass Juliet Glass

Born and raised in New York City, Juliet Glass attended Reed College in Portland, OR and the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Although trained as a historian, her passion for food and cooking led her to a career as a freelance food writer. Driven by a desire for more real world experience in food system management, Juliet joined FRESHFARM in Washington, DC where she managed markets, programs, and lead communications efforts. Juliet joined Maryland Farmers Market Association as the External Relations coordinator and works to increase the organization's visibility and impact, advance its mission, and expand community involvement. When not working, Juliet enjoys cooking, visiting farmers markets, yoga, and spending time with her husband, sons and cats.