Rainbow Chard

clabarr(5)June 3, 2010

I have lots of rainbow chard. Have searched recipes and get some ideas. But, thinking of freezing some too. Any experience what to do so my family doesn't get totally sick of it?

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Cooked greens freeze well. I cook a big batch and whatever is left over I freeze in pint jars, which is a perfect size for a family meal. Careful about spices as they seem to intensify after freezing. I have frozen cooked collards, turnip greens, kale, and swiss chard with success. Makes an easy side dish later.

If you have a dehydrator, It can also be dehydrated. I store the dried leaves in mason jars until I'm ready to cook with it. Rehydrated, it tastes very good, but seems to need a little extra simmering for tenderness.

This was the first year we had kale and chard in the garden. I loved-loved-loved the kale, and made it frequently into a potato-kale gratin (sliced potatoes layered with thin sliced onions and chopped/steamed kale, seasoned with tarragon), with the addition of some butter and milk, then baked. The recipe was from the newest Joy of Cooking revision. I also made it with swiss chard (without the stalks). I liked the kale better than the chard, but I think that whatever you can do with other greens you can do with the chard.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 11:05AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Chard stands for quite a long time so you can harvest it fresh over a long period and don't need to pick it all at once. Essentially you can 'store' it in the garden. Maybe not in your zone but where I live we can usually pick through most of the winter too. Then it gives a final massive harvest in the spring and starts to bolt about now.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 12:56PM
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If looking for things to do with it. I made a lima bean/lentil and mixed rice soup this week and added the chard at the last 20 minutes. Served with fresh parmesan/reggiano. It was delicious! The chard added just the right amount of body, color and slight bitter taste that was perfect.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 1:12PM
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Always good in lasagna or spaghetti sauce. Chard and spinach more or less taste the same.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 3:43PM
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david52 Zone 6

I should mention that steamed swiss chard is excellent with lemon juice and hot sauce.

Also as a stuffing, with a bit of grated cheese and raw onion, in a burrito shell, and if you're my kids, they fry them to get a crisp crust.

I have a 30 foot row of beautiful, over-wintered chard that is just starting to bolt, and I'd better get busy.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 4:27PM
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which chard do you have and how did you manage to overwinter in zone 5. I assume you over wintered outdoors. did you give it some kind of protection.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 11:03PM
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david52 Zone 6

This particular batch is a chard called Bionda di Lyon from Johnny's, its a mild flavored, light green variety.

Both spinach and chard can be over-wintered here, the big problem is the soil dries out in our high-desert environment. This year we had snow cover for a couple of months, but I still had to water it in early April. A couple of hard freezes knocked it back as well, but in May, it took off.

For both spinach and chard, the trick for over-wintering is to plant it early enough that the plants send down a tap root. Spinach will bolt, so I plant that in mid-August, and the weather starts cooling down by September, and we get our first frosts in mid-Sept. Chard can be planted and harvested the first summer and just left. A mulch helps retain the moisture, and if you have deer, a hoop of chicken wire.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 11:48AM
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I freeze a lot of chard for use in soups and quiche. I think chard with eggs and cheese is a really delicious combo.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 9:25PM
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I have cooked and frozen collards before and they come out really nice. Like the other poster, I could a big batch for supper then freeze what we don't eat. My family isn't big on greens so I put them in the snack bags then a freezer bag so I have individual portions as I need them. Lori

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 11:38PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

I freeze mine for soups as well.
I use alot of chard in tossed salads as well. Take the rib out and tear up the leaves, people ask what kind of spinach it is, lol.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 1:36PM
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david52 Zone 6

I'd forgotten to mention that one year we tried drying it in a dehydrator, then crumbling it up. It's quite 'salty' tasting. We eventually threw it out because nobody could think of anything to do with it.

I think I caught it in time, but we just packed a laundry sink full of chard leaves from the above-mentioned 30 foot row. The flowers are a bit bitter, but we just took the tender leaves. Productive stuff is Swiss chard.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 4:11PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Oh, one other thought. It may look like a lot of chard but it does cook down immensely. It will reduce by at least a quarter when it's cooked and drained. A packed carrier bag (grocery bag) is about right for 4 people as a side dish.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 4:33AM
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