Swiss chard is a leafy vegetable that is both full of flavor and very nutritious. It tastes delicious raw as the base for a salad or cooked in a wide variety of warm dishes.
From Wikipedia: “Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris, Cicla-Group and Flavescens-Group) is a leafy green vegetable often used in Mediterranean cooking. In the Flavescens-Group-cultivars, the leaf stalks are large and are often prepared separately from the leaf blade. The leaf blade can be green or reddish in color; the leaf stalks also vary in color, usually white, yellow, or red. Chard has highly nutritious leaves making it a popular addition to healthful diets (like other green leafy vegetables). Chard has been around for centuries, but because of its similarity to other beets and some other vegetables such as cardoon, the common names used by cooks over the centuries may be confusing.”
“Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked (like in pizzoccheri) or sauteed; the bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavor which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach.
In Egyptian cuisine, chard is commonly cooked with taro root and coriander in a light broth. In Turkish cuisine, chard is cooked as soup, sarma or börek.”
“In a 100 gram serving, raw Swiss chard provides 19 calories and has rich content (> 19% of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamins A, K, and C ... Also having significant content in raw chard are vitamin E and the dietary minerals, magnesium, manganese, iron and potassium. Carbohydrates, protein, fat and dietary fiber have low content.
When chard is cooked by boiling, vitamin and mineral contents are reduced compared to raw chard, but still supply significant proportions of the DV.”
“The word "chard" descends from the fourteenth-century French carde, from Latin carduus meaning artichoke thistle (or cardoon, including the artichoke).
The origin of the adjective "Swiss" is unclear, since the Mediterranean plant is not native to Switzerland, nor particularly commonly cultivated there. Some attribute the name to it having been first described by a Swiss botanist, either Gaspard Bauhin or Karl Heinrich Emil Koch (although the latter was German, not Swiss).”
"Growing" and harvesting:
“Chard is a biennial. Clusters of chard seeds are usually sown, in the Northern Hemisphere, between June and October, depending on the desired harvesting period. Chard can be harvested while the leaves are young and tender, or after maturity when they are larger and have slightly tougher stems. Harvesting is a continuous process, as most species of chard produce three or more crops. Raw chard is extremely perishable.”
“Cultivars of chard include green forms, such as 'Lucullus' and 'Fordhook Giant', as well as red-ribbed forms such as 'Ruby Chard' and 'Rhubarb Chard'. The red-ribbed forms are attractive in the garden, but as a general rule, the older green forms tend to outproduce the colorful hybrids. 'Rainbow Chard' is a mix of other colored varieties that is often mistaken for a variety unto itself.
Chard has shiny, green, ribbed leaves, with petioles that range from white to yellow to red, depending on the cultivar.
Chard is a spring harvest plant. In the Northern Hemisphere, chard is typically ready to harvest as early as April and lasts through May. Chard is one of the hardier leafy greens, with a harvest season typically lasting longer than kale, spinach or baby greens. When daytime temperatures start to regularly hit 30 °C (86 °F), the harvest season is coming to an end.”