Today was long and full of wonderful moments; children's creativity, adult's inspiration, and garden wonder. As my day drew to a close, Ben and I meandered through the garden for a few last minute chores before the sun set. In the corner of my greenhouse beautiful Swiss Chard stood stately and tall, ready for harvest.
Chard is a leafy green often used in Mediterranean cooking. Believe it or not, it is related to beetroot; the seeds look almost exactly like beets, as does the sprout. Chard is loaded with vitamins A, K, and C as well as a multitude of minerals, fiber and protein. I love the fact chard seems to tolerate our climate fairly well and is a great 'cut and come again' green.
Fresh young, or baby chard is excellent in salads and smoothies- I love green smoothies, however, the more mature chard leaves can be a bit bitter. With the older leaves I generally cut the stems away, leaving them for the stock pot, and sauté them in the same manner as kale or spinach.
After harvesting chard, I like to give it a nice soak in the sink to clear out bugs, dirt and other not-so-nice's that may be lurking in the little crevices. Chard freezes well and is similar to frozen spinach. Some people blanch it first, but I just toss it in the bag.
This evening, the chard was tossed with a bit of olive oil, crushed red pepper and a splash of lemon. Leftover roast beef was added just to warm it through. All was set on a bed of brown rice seasoned with broth. What a wonderful end to a long and lovely day.