Swiss chard, a green leafy vegetable, is one of the most visually appealing greens at the farmer’s market. The leaves can be sliced into ribbons and served fresh in salads, sautéed with the stems, or stewed in a stew.
Try substituting it for kale in your next salad because it’s a strong leafy green that doesn’t wilt readily. So, what’s the flavor of Swiss chard? Is it as tasty as it appears to be?
Swiss chard, or simply chard, is a vegetable that many individuals love or hate. Swiss chard is one of the most adaptable leafy greens you can cultivate or find from your local farmers market sitting by other common green vegetables like spinach, kale, and lettuce. The stalks offer many brilliant colors to dishes, unlike other veggies. (Learn Why Do My Cucumbers Taste Bitter)
Many ask, does chard taste good, as they hear it tastes bitter? Chard belongs to the beet greens family, and once you know how to cook Swiss Chard, it tastes better than when eaten raw.
In our guide, you can learn more about how to get away from bitter taste, if there is any, and ultimately, you can find out what does chard taste like?
What Is Swiss Chard Comparable To?
The presence of geosmin, a chemical naturally found in chard and beets, gives Swiss chard its earthy, dirt-like taste.
Because the stalks and veins contain the highest levels of geosmin, you can remove the stalks and consume only the leaves to avoid the earthiness.
Swiss chard leaves have a similar flavor to spinach and can even be used in place of spinach in some dishes.
Those who cultivate Swiss chard for the stalks can draw out or mask geosmin to make the stalks taste less earthy.
You can parboil or blanch Swiss chard stalks before using them in cooked dishes and remove the water.
Swiss chard can also be used in severely spiced or seasoned dishes, which will mask the earthy geosmin. Some of the earthiness can be hidden by braising or stir-frying.
Pickling Swiss chard stalks like celery stalks can help to mask any dirt-like flavors, but blanching first is recommended.
There are also several varieties with a milder flavor. You may think there is a difference in taste between rainbow chard vs. swiss chard, when in fact, they are the same plant, yet one has white stalks and the other red stalks.
Likewise, you may ask, what is red chard? Again, it is the same, yet the veins in the leaf are red rather than green.
Why Is Swiss Chard Bitter?
Hot, dry weather is a common cause of bitter chard. Bitterness can be found in both the leaves and the plant’s stem.
To avoid bitter Swiss chard in the first place, make sure your chard doesn’t dry up and grow in a somewhat shaded area if possible.
Can Swiss Chard Be Eaten Raw?
Swiss chard can be eaten raw and is preferred by certain growers. Salads can be made with raw Swiss chard leaves and stalks.
To produce a colorful veggie dip platter, combine stalks with carrots, celery, and other vegetables and fruits.
How Do You Eat Swiss Chard?
Swiss chard is not native to Switzerland and did not originate there. Instead, it’s native to southern Europe, notably Spain’s southern coasts.
It’s often known as “Chard,” but it also goes by everlasting spinach, beet spinach, silverbeet, leaf beet, and seakale beet.
Chard leaves are nutrition-packed and low in calories. While young, tender chard leaves can be eaten raw in salads for maximum nutritional benefit, they taste bitter. Therefore, they are usually cooked to reduce bitterness and make them easier to digest.
They still have a lot of nutritional value when cooked, such as vitamins A, C, E, and K and fiber, magnesium, iron, and potassium. (Read Companion Planting Vegetable Garden Layout)
How to Buy Swiss chard
Rainbow chard is a colorful blend of thick stalks from different varieties. It’s in season from July through November, and varieties vary by country and area, from sun-colored to colorless stalks.
In North America, it’s nicknamed “ruby chard” for its ruby-red stem and emerald green leaves.
Look for Swiss chard with robust stalks that can hold its leaves when tipped upright. Cuts should look fresh and wet. Leaves should be dark, glossy, and evenly colored; avoid wilting or spotted leaves.
How to store Swiss Chard
Unwashed, loosely wrapped Swiss chard can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Before using, wash and dry. Separate the stalks and leaves and wrap them in paper towels or plastic to extend their life in your vegetable drawer.
If you cultivate Swiss chard or wish to stock your freezer with it, you can freeze it for up to 8 months:
How To Use Swiss Chard
Swiss chard’s flavor blends beetroot’s earthiness and spinach’s bitterness.
To ensure equal cooking and make out the different textures and flavors of Swiss chard, separate the stalks and leaves.
Chard leaves, like spinach leaves, soften and become milder when cooked in casseroles, gratins, soups, and stews.
Some recipes (a green smoothie with chard, for example) may only use the leaves, leaving you wondering if you may use the stalks.
You can chop them up and use them like an onion in chard quiches or warm, wilted chard salads. Swiss chard can make pesto or ravioli recipes and cannelloni fillings.
Does Swiss Chard Taste Like Celery?
Swiss Chard is a leafy green with thick white stalks like celery. Beets are cultivated for their roots, but Swiss chard is cultivated for its leaves and stems.
What does Swiss chard taste like? Cooked Swiss chard has a mild, slightly sweet taste like spinach with an earthy flavor, yet if you eat Swiss chard raw, be prepared for bitterness.
People enjoy the taste of Swiss chard; thus, it’s used in many recipes worldwide.
Swiss chard can provide the body with large doses of vitamins, and it also contains calcium, protein, manganese, copper, potassium, iron, and fiber.
The leafy vegetable is nutrient-dense because it contains many vitamins and minerals for few calories.
Culinary Uses of Swiss Chard
Young Swiss chard leaves can be cut and used in salads. However, mature leaves have a harder texture than juvenile leaves; thus, they’re best cooked.
Swiss chard has fibrous, celery-like stems. Stems and ribs are removed from Swiss chard leaves before cooking since they take a longer cooking time. However, they can be used in stir-dishes or sauces.
Swiss chard can be roasted or sautéed like kale. This versatile green can be used in recipes such as stuffed Swiss chard leaves, Cannellini White Bean soup with Swiss chard, or crustless chard and bacon Quiche.
Swiss chard dishes in casseroles, soups, stews, and gratins, and if you plan to eat it raw, try it with olive oil or lemon juice.
Swiss chard can be added to make sandwiches, cabbage rolls, burgers, or sharp cheeses healthier.
Which Is Better, Kale or Swiss Chard?
Nutritionally, kale comes out on top. It contains zinc, manganese, riboflavin, and omega-3 fatty acids.
What is Swiss chard? It’s among the top green vegetables, and the leafy greens are closely linked to beets and spinach.
Its leaves resemble those of its beet cousins, but the chard’s most recognizable attribute is the color of its stalks: Swiss chard’s white stalks contrast with its dark green leaves, whereas Rainbow chard’s stalks range from deep red to vivid yellow and orange.
Before cooking, the leaves are usually removed from the celery-like stems. Then, they can be sautéed, used as dipsticks, and pickled.
Start cooking them before adding the leaves. Swiss chard is a gluten-free, nutrient-rich side dish. (Learn How To Amend Clay Soil For Vegetable Gardening)
Raw Swiss chard’s tender leaves are bitter. Bitterness disappears when cooked, leaving a mild, sweet taste like spinach.
Quick Chard Recipes
Chard Tahini Dip:
- Cook chopped chard stalks for 16 to 18 minutes in a large stockpot of boiling water.
- Purée chard stalks and 1 clove of chopped garlic.
- Blend 1/4 cup tahini, 1/4 cup olive oil, half a lemon’s juice, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Serve with veggie sticks or pita bread.
- 1 pound of chard stems (cut into 3-inch pieces),
- 1 sliced onion and 1/4 cup kosher salt in a large bowl.
- Drain after 1 hour. Jar chard stems and shallots.
- Brine: In a small pot, boil 1 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, and 1 cup water.
- Bottle in brine jars, cover, and refrigerate.