Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris), often called Swiss chard, to distinguish from French spinach varieties, has passed wrongfully into silence. Nowadays the healthy and colourful vegetable with its spinach-like taste, undergoes its culinary renaissance. Even if chard looks a bit like rhubarb, both plants are not related, as chard depends to the Amaranth family (Amaranthaceae) and is a relative to beetroot (Beta vulgaris), rhubarb depends to the knotweed family (Polygonaceae). Finally there is one thing Swiss chard has in common with rhubarb and that is the content of oxalic acid, which is problematic for patients suffering from kidney problems. Due to cooking the content of oxalic acid will decrease a bit. The use of chard, with its slightly bitter taste, is very popular in the Mediterrean and Arabic cuisine. Young Swiss chard is also eaten raw as salad. Steamed or cooked chard stems are known as “Poor People Asparagus”, but nevertheless they`re very tasty and best served with a sauce Hollandaise or a cream sauce. Chard leaves are used and prepared like spinach, they are a delicious stuffing for meat or used as a wrapping for chard rolls. Chard stems, especially elder stems, should be peeled, as they can be ropy and stringy. Unfortunatly the colorful stems will loose its attractive colour,
while cooked or steamed.
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Image: Chard, Swiss Chard
Chard (Swiss chard) contain a lot of vitamin A, C and K and is rich in fiber, protein and minerals, especially iron and magnesium. Beside the fact, that patients with kidney problems should avoid chard, because of the content of oxalic acid, Swiss chard is considered to be one of the most healthy vegetables.