A few weeks ago I picked a bunch of Swiss chard from the garden and then just did not feel like preparing it. I researched the best way to store Swiss chard as it wilts quickly and read that Swiss chard does not respond well to short term storage and that it is literally packed full of nutrients! I was so inspired by this leafy stalk of health that I proceeded to chop and sauté the chard in olive oil & butter, I added chopped and sautéed onions and garlic and was delighted to have whipped up a nutritious, flavorful dish for my family. Then and there I vowed that Swiss chard would never wilt on my watch again.
Despite this vegetable’s seemingly allegiance to Switzerland, it is a native of the Mediterranean region and was once honored for its medicinal properties in ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. The French confused this food with another Mediterranean vegetable and from then on it was named a chard. Swiss chard has a tall, crunchy stalk and a big proud leafy top. Swiss chard can be found in a variety of hues like white, red, yellow, green & purple.
Swiss chard is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and protein. It is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, E & K as well as magnesium, copper, manganese, iron and potassium. It is a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as choline, B2 & B6 as well as calcium and phosphorus. Swiss chard is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, folate B1 & B3 as well as zinc and selenium. These rich amounts of vitamins and minerals make Swiss chard a great supporter of bone health and cellular metabolism. With antioxidants abound, Swiss chard not only squelches cancer promoting free radicals it also reduces chronic excessive inflammation. Swiss chard contains a flavonoid called syringic acid which has been shown to inhibit alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that breaks carbohydrates down into simple sugars. Syringic acid along with the high fiber and protein content lends to Swiss chard’s blood sugar regulating properties.
Swiss chard grows very well here in upstate NY. It can be thinned out and eaten while growing and enjoyed after it has realized its full potential. Swiss chard can be blanched and frozen for year round yumminess. My household enjoys Swiss chard sautéed as described above with or without beet greens and we found it pairs exceptionally well with eggs. Because Swiss chard contains large amounts of oxalates, those with existing and untreated kidney and gallbladder issues should avoid consuming it.