Colorful Facts About Chard

You can certainly file this list of fascinating facts about chard under “things I will probably never need to know,” but, then again, there’s no telling when one of these pieces of trivia will present itself as a clue on Jeopardy and you will end up sounding—and feeling—like a genius when you shout out the answer.  Boasting the colors of the rainbow, red, yellow, purple, and orange, chard is the leafy green that can dress up any dish. It comes in three varieties: rainbow, green—better known as Swiss—and red chard.  Packed with nutrients but containing very few calories, Swiss chard is at the top of every dieter’s list. Colchester Neighborhood Farm is currently harvesting this oh-so-good-for-you vegetable.

Here are some other lesser known, but equally interesting, tidbits of information about chard.

Though it is harvested between June and August, chard is available year round.

According to fullcircle.com, Swiss chard is called such because the botanist who discovered it came from Switzerland.  However, the plant originated in Sicily. As a result of its origins, Swiss chard is an integral part of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine.

According to webmd.com Chard comes from the Latin word cardus, meaning thistle.

It is a member of the beet family, but its roots are inedible, so don’t even think about it!

Like other leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, chard is packed with Vitamins K, A, and C.

It is also rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, and dietary fiber.

Swiss chard can reach up to 28 inches tall!

Chard has been around for a while. Dating back to the fourth century B.C., Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about the leafy vegetable.

According to the website whfoods.com, the ancient Greeks and later the Romans once revered this vegetable because of its medicinal properties.

The best way to store chard is to place it in a plastic bag and to squeeze as much air out of the bag while wrapping the chard tightly. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. Do not rinse the vegetable until just before ready to use.

Chard can be used in juices but most websites recommend cooking it, since it can have a somewhat bitter taste. It can be steamed, braised, boiled or cooked in a stuffing. Most sites recommend cooking the leaves the way you would spinach and cooking the stems in the same manner you cook asparagus. Including this powerhouse in your diet is definitely a healthy move! To purchase this and other healthy and organic vegetables, visit Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton.

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