Thursday, 7 November 2013

Swiss Chard

Now this isn't a well known vegetable in our house.  We have never grown it before, neither have either of us tasted it.  So when I decided to try and grow some, it was met with differing views!

I sowed a single row, in space between the broad beans and leeks.  In fact it was just a half row, the other half of the row being Pak Choi.  Unfortunately the weeds got the better of me in the hot summer, and the Pak Choi got drowned out, but thankfully the Swiss Chard struggled on and there are some good looking plants out there -

There is also a yellow too -

There really are very attractive plants indeed and I'm pleased to say that most of the half row has grown really strongly.  I am also planning to sow some more in the polytunnel once I've got the tomatoes out, which are at the moment still producing fruit.

It is a plant related to sugar beet - the stuff that farmers are madly harvesting at the moment, and is also known as leaf beet and spinach beet - the leaves often been likened to spinach, when lightly steamed. I just roughly chopped the whole stalks including the leaves, placed in a pan with some Kale, added 5cm of water and let the water boil then took it off the heat to finish cooking.  Swiss Chard contains a huge range of vitamins and minerals, like Kale (a winter favourite in this house), although mine did have a slight 'soil' or earthy taste to it, I don't know whether it supposed to taste like that, so I'd be pleased to hear from any of you that think otherwise.  I had heard the stalks are supposed to taste a bit like asparagus, but we haven't found that, maybe ours were too old.

It's certainly a vegetable that I will have to persist in and look for other recipes to use it in.  What does it go well with?  How is it best cooked?  Your thoughts/views would be appreciated.


  1. I have grown Bright Lights since it was released and we love it, it is a bit earthy. I usually cook the stems in a little water and cook the leaves just like spinach. I use it in soups, cook the stems with the rest of the veg and just shred the leaves and throw in for the last 3 minutes, I have shredded very young leaves, put them in the bowl and poured the hot soup on the top. You can pull it right through the winter as long as you take just 2 or 3 stems from each plant. I have brushed snow off the plants to harvest it.

  2. I grow some chard every year and the thing I like about it is the way it starts growing again in the spring so there are some young leaves when not much else is about. Chickens love the big outside leaves which need to come off to keep it going. It starts to run to seed when the weather warms, so grow some fresh easch year. I've not had so much luck with the rainbow - not so hardy here, so just do ordinary.

  3. That's good to know Ladies, looks like I'm on the right track with it then - thank you