The sun may be shining here in Vancouver, but the air sure is cold! Comfort foods have become a mainstay as of late, so I thought I would highlight a hearty green that will make a nutritious addition to your soups and stews. This week’s Fresh Pick is chard.
Chard, (also called Swiss chard) is actually a member of the beet family which explains the similarity in the look between beet tops and chard. It comes in a variety of colours: yellow, pink, red, and purple, and is loaded with nutrients. One cup of chopped raw chard is a good source of Vitamin C and beta-carotene.
When and Where to Find Chard
Chard is a cool weather green that can be grown in the Lower Mainland year-round. I had a small batch going in my garden last year, although it performs better in the fall and spring compared to the winter months. You will definitely be able to find it at the Vancouver Winter Market this time of year, and likely in your local grocery store too. Look for brightly coloured stems and dark green leaves, avoiding chard that appears wilted or brown.
What to do With Chard
There is so much you can do with chard. Add it to smoothies, soups, or stews. Chard tastes delicious sautéed with garlic and chili flakes, and goes wonderfully with brunch dishes like frittatas and hash. I also like to cut it into thin strips and add it to coleslaws and other salads. The stems can be quite thick, but don’t throw them away. They can get added to smoothies with the greens, or diced up fine for soups.
Do you have any favorite chard recipes that you would like to share? Let me know in the comment section below.