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By Stephanie Harshman and Terri Mendoza

swisschard-1Spring is here and that means it is time to start getting excited for longer days, sunshine, and fresh, flavorful vegetables! One of my favorites is Swiss chard. Here is a quick look at this versatile leafy green!

The Basics

Swiss chard is a leafy green that is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, potassium, and fiber. Chard comes in several colors, including white, yellow, and red, and has a mildly bitter and sharp taste. Did you know that beets and spinach are related to chard?

 How to Use Chard

Swiss chard can be prepared in a lot of different ways!  I like to chop it and add it when I’m cooking scrambled eggs. Fruits like apples and pears, as well as citrus fruits, are great to pair with Swiss chard since they balance out the sharp flavor of the greens.  Raw baby chard leaves can be a great addition to salads.

 Cooking Tips

Chard has tender leaves that you can use any time you might use spinach. The leaves can be quite big, so the best way to prepare your chard is to stack the leaves, roll them up, and thinly slice them in to long ribbons. When sautéed, the leaves take about 4-6 minutes to wilt and soften to a great silky texture. Don’t hesitate to chop up and eat the stalks of your chard–they taste like a cross between celery and broccoli, and are great to add to a quick stir fry!  If the stalks are a bit tough, cook them first and then mix with the leaves.

 Storage Tips

Don’t wash chard before storing—it will keep longer in the fridge that way. Wrap chard in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 3-4 days. When you are ready to use it, just wash and dry!

Ready to get started?  Try this delicious recipe!

Almond-Garlic Swiss Chard

Serves 4 (serving size: about 2/3 cup)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 thinly sliced garlic cloves

8 cups chopped Swiss chard, including stems (about 8 oz.)

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add garlic.  Cook 2 minutes or until it becomes fragrant and it turns golden-brown. Add Swiss chard and salt.  Cook 3 minutes or until chard is slightly wilted and bright green. Stir in almonds and cranberries.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/almond-garlic-swiss-chard

Stephanie Harshman is a dietetic intern at Simmons College.

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Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

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