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November 28th, 2016

Season’s Green-ings

by Yael Ben-Chaim

Leafy, green, red, and delicious are just a few words to describe the magic that is Swiss chard. While it resembles kale and spinach, Swiss chard is most closely related to beets. Ancient Sicilians bred Swiss chard, because they loved the beet green. Swiss chard is essentially a beet green, in much bigger, juicier form.  “Swiss” is tacked onto chard’s name because of its extensive cultivation and usage in Switzerland. Unlike other greens, Swiss chard thrives in both summer weather and cooler temperatures (other greens grow best only in the cold).  In fact, Swiss chard, as well as other greens are some of the most common winter market finds in Maryland.

Swiss chard contains an impressive list of vitamins. It is full of vitamins K, C and A. Vitamin K prevents blood clots and extensive bleeding. Vitamin K also helps with nutrient absorption. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, making it a necessary vitamin assisting the body’s fight against colds and the flu in the colder months.  Finally, Vitamin A helps with vision. It helps to protect the cornea, which is the surface area of the eye!

To store, wrap your Swiss chard leaves in a damp paper towel, put in a plastic bag, and store in the fridge up to a week after purchase. This technique will help the Swiss chard maintain its crisp freshness.

Swiss chard is extremely versatile! Because the leaves are tender, they are delicious in a salad—particularly the smaller, younger leaves. You can also sauté them with seasonings of your choice, or throw them in a smoothie.

Check out this recipe for Salt and Vinegar Swiss Chard Chips from Taste Made

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 chard leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Remove stem and center of Swiss chard leaf, and tear leaves into bite size pieces. Place piece in large mixing bowl. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix in olive oil and apple cider vinegar, and gentle massage into leaves.
  3. Place coated Swiss chard leaves onto baking sheet and top with salt.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip Swiss chard leaves over, and cook for another 8-10 minutes.
About the Author Yael Ben-Chaim

Yael is a food-lover, interested in local food systems and farmers markets. Follow Yael's blog posts on farmer market produce, recipes, and nutrition information. Yael is an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Maryland Farmers Market Association and is developing a seasonal food education program for MDFMA.