Silverbeet, often called Swiss chard or chard, is a dark leafy green with a thick stalk which can be an array of colours from white to pink or orange. All chard varieties are descendants from a wild seashore plant called sea beet. Chard is a close cousin to the beetroot although used for its leaves, rather than its root.
Possibly the most common chard in New Zealand with dark leaves and a thick white stalk.
Vibrant yellow and pink stalks with light green leaves.
Chard leaves are best cooked to remove some of the bitterness caused by the presence of oxalic acid. It can be eaten raw, and if doing so choose young leaves and chiffonade them to use in a winter salad.
Wrap salmon or white fish in chard leaves to steam “en papillote” style. Or spread a soft cheese or labneh along a blanched chard leaf, then wrap around crumbed fish or chicken.
Chard works as a nutritious and flavoursome addition to omelettes and quiches, or simply sautéed in some butter to go with poached eggs.
Use it in a rice pilaf with fragrant spices to accompany slow cooked lamb or koftas. Add
a green layer into a lasagne or stir through a creamy chicken and vegetable pie mix for the cabinet.
Generously add chard to a chicken and vegetable soup with a hint of lemon. Pair chard with dairy products, onions, nuts, courgettes, mushrooms, winter herbs and eggs.
The stalks and leaves cook at different times. Don’t waste them; use in a layer of a potato gratin or as a keto alternative to pasta with your favourite sauce.
HOW TO PREPARE
Wash stalks and leaves at least twice. Remove stalks and centre ribs and cut to requirements if using. Cut or tear leaves. Shake off excess water. When cooking leaves, don't add water, as the water that clings to them after washing is sufficient. The stems can be removed from the leafy section and cooked like asparagus, or sliced and cooked. Both the stems and leaves can be used together; the stems take longer to cook so add the leaves 3–4 minutes after the stems. Chard suits quick cooking methods like stir-frying and steaming but also enjoys a luxurious braise.
Grown throughout New Zealand, with the exception of Northland and Otago