Origin: southern Europe
An edible plant of the Chenopodiaceae family.
A relative of the beet, grown for its greens which resemble spinach.
A distinction is made between the leafy part of the plant and the actual chard, which refers specifically to the broad middle stalks and the side ribs. Thus there are two growing styles, uses and cooking methods.
Look for bright green shiny leaves, with no marks or blemishes. If the leaves are starting to yellow, it means the vegetable is old.
The leaves are sensitive to pressure: keep them cool without packing them tightly. They keep better than spinach, but not for more than two or three days. Sprinkle them with water as necessary in order to keep them fresh.
Refresh in cold water as you would with spinach.
The greens of Swiss chard are similar to spinach, and like the latter can be served as a salad with bacon bits, or "melted" in a little butter or oil and used as a bed on which to serve grilled fish.
Quickly wilted in butter, they add a Mediterranean flavor to quiches, stuffings and gratins.
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