Glossary

Swiss chard

Swiss chard

Pronounce it: swiss shard

Also known as just plain chard, swiss chard has large, fleshy but tender deep green leaves and thick, crisp stalks. Although they're unrelated, chard is similar to spinach, but with a stronger, more assertive (some think, bitter) flavour.

Different types of chard have different coloured stalks and ribs - some are white, some are a golden orange and some are red (called ruby or rhubarb chard) - there's even rainbow chard. There's very little difference in taste, but ruby and rhubarb chard can have a slightly stronger flavour.

Availability

All year round, but best from July through to early November.

Choose the best

Go for leaves that are bright green and fresh-looking, with no brown discolouration. Stems should be firm. Unlike many vegetables, larger swiss chard leaves aren't necessarily tougher than smaller ones.

Prepare it

The leaf and the stalks should be cooked separately. Wash, then cut off the stalks from the leaves and leave whole or chop, as required. On some older leaves you may need to cut the ribs out of the leaves, too. Leaves can be left whole, or chopped, as required.

Store it

In a perforated bag in the fridge, for up to four days.

Cook it

Leaves: boil (1-2 minutes); steam (3-4 minutes). Stems: stir-fry (around 2 minutes); boil (3-4 minutes); steam (4-5 minutes); roast (10 minutes).

Alternatives

Try spinach.

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