Swiss chard stands out as a sturdy, leafy green vegetable with colorful, thick stems, when mature. Chard is closely related to the beet plant, and has a somewhat earthy flavor, especially when eaten raw.
Swiss chard is one of the most impressive vegetables out there, as it has high nutrient density and a range of antioxidants. Swiss chard nutrition benefits include its many forms of polyphenol, betalain and carotenoid antioxidants which are powerful at fighting free radical damage, inflammation, and disease development.
Some of the antioxidants found in Swiss chard include: carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are crucial for eye health, and flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol which act as antihistamines and reduce allergic reactions and inflammatory responses. Swiss chard is also one of the best sources of betalains, water-soluble plant pigments that have a wide range of desirable biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. On top on this, Swiss chard packs an impressive amount of potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, and even more vitamins and minerals. And with high levels of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and many trace minerals, there’s almost no health condition that Swiss chard can’t help.
Do not wash the greens right away as this encourages them to wilt more quickly. Instead try putting them inside of a plastic bag and wrapping a damp paper towel around the stems which will keep in moisture and prolong its freshness. Store in crisper in fridge. Try to use Swiss chard within 4-5 days.
You can always cook the greens and freeze them, which will preserve the nutrients and make a great addition to soups, stews, or sauces down the road.
To wash Swiss chard before using, fill a bowl with equal parts white vinegar & water. Then, soak it in the solution for a minute or two, and rinse. The acetic acid in the vinegar kills bacteria and helps to dissolve dirt & grime.
QUICK MEAL IDEAS:
It’s recommend that you try boiling Swiss chard or lightly sautéing it before eating it. This helps to decrease certain acids found in Swiss chard and to improve its taste and nutrient availability. You can do this by quickly boiling the leaves for only 2-3 minutes in an open pot (don’t add a lid which will hinder the process a bit), or by sautéing them in a pan with some olive oil, stock, or coconut oil just until they are wilted.
Click here for a simple recipe of sauteed swiss chard.