In my experience swiss chard is incredibly easy to grow. It tolerates the cold well so you can start growing it very early in the spring and have fresh greens even when the weather is still chilly. It handles itself well even in the hot temperatures and lasts well into the return of the cold.
When the temperatures start to dip and frost is coming more often than not I start harvesting the remainder of my swiss chard so I can preserve it for use in the winter. A cold frame, like I might use for my spinach, simply won’t work because chard gets quite tall. In the house and into the freezer it must go.
But what can you do with frozen swiss chard? Well, you can use the leaves much the way you would use spinach and the stems can be used the same way you use celery. Here are some ideas for using preserved swiss chard…
- Add to lentil or bean soup
- Scramble in eggs for breakfast burritos
- Add to casserole dishes
- Top homemade pizza
- Adding to quiche, tarts, and frittatas
- Add to green smoothies
- Add to dips in place of spinach
- Add to curry dishes
- Pickle them and eat throughout the winter
- Add to chicken soup
- Stir fry with other veggies in Asians dishes
- Puree them for use in tahini or hummus
How to Preserve Swiss Chard
Gather your swiss chard from the garden and clean well. Cut the stems from the leaves. I blanch and freeze stems and leaves separately and I also reserve some longer stems for pickling and canning.
Blanch anything you desire to freeze for three minutes in boiling water and then immediately transfer to an ice bath. After they have cooled a bit strain out the water. From here you can squeeze the water from the leaves and add handfuls to a cookie sheet or silicone muffins trays and freeze. This creates portions you can use in many different ways rather than a massive chunk of frozen greens.
Freeze or pickle the stems or do both. Enjoy!
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016