Swiss Chard

From University of Illinois Extension:

Nutritional Value & Health Benefits

Chard packs a huge amount of vitamin A and it is naturally high in sodium. One cup contains 313 mg of sodium, which is very high for vegetables. Chard is also surprisingly high in other minerals as well, i.e., calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Nutrition Facts
(1 cup chopped)
Calories 35
Protein 3 grams
Carbohydrates 7 grams
Calcium 102 mg
Iron 4 mg
Magnesium 151 mg
Phosphorus 58 mg
Potassium 960 mg
Sodium 313 mg
Vitamin C 32 mg
Folate 15 mcg
Vitamin 5493 IU

Selection & Storage

Chard goes by many names—Swiss chard, leaf beet, seakettle beet, and spinach beet to name a few. It is a beautiful large-leaf vegetable with wide flat stems resembling celery. The ruby variety is especially charming with its vivid red stem with broad dark green leaves. If you like spinach, you will adore chard. The flavor is mild yet earthy and sweet with slightly bitter undertones.

The word “Swiss” was used to distinguish chard from French charde or chardon by nineteenth century seed catalogues publishers and the name stuck. Chard is very popular among Mediterranean cooks but the first varieties have been traced back to Sicily. In the US the leaves are valued while European cooks value the stalks to the point of discarding the leaves or feeding them to animals.

Preparation & Serving

Young tender chard leaves can be eaten raw adding a beet-like flavor to salads and sandwiches. Chard can be used in place of spinach in any recipe, although chard will need to be cooked a bit longer. When cooking older chard, the stems require longer cooking time than the leaves.

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