How do you prepare chard?
To prepare, rinse chard under cold running water. Do not soak chard, as this will result in the loss of water-soluble nutrients to the water. Remove any area of the leaves that may be brown, slimy, or have holes. Stack the leaves and slice into 1-inch slices until you reach the stems. Cut stems into 1/2-inch slices, discarding the bottom 1-inch portion.
To cook chard:
- Steam chard in a steamer. Add thick ribs to the steamer a few minutes before the green parts of the leaves. The leaves will cook in 1 to 2 minutes.
- Steam chard with thin ribs whole in the microwave with the water that remains on its leaves after washing. This should take 1 to 2 minutes. Microwaves vary in intensity, so be sure to check your chard frequently until you have determined how long it takes to cook in your microwave.
- Saute chard over medium heat until it is tender. This should only take a few minutes. Chard can also be sauteed in a little olive oil with garlic.
- If you have problems with oxalic acid, you can boil chard to free up acids and allow them to leach into the boiling water; this brings out a sweeter taste from the chard. Discard the boiling water after cooking; do not drink it or use it for stock because of its acid content. Use a large pot (3 quart) with lots of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add chard to the boiling water. If stems are more than 1-inch wide, cook them for 2 minutes before adding the leaves. If less than 1 inch in width you can boil the leaves and stems together for 3 minutes. Begin timing as soon as you place the chard in the pot if you are using 1 pound or less of chard. If you are cooking large quantities of chard bring the water back to a boil before beginning timing the 3 minutes. Do not cover the pot when cooking chard. Leaving the pot uncovered helps to release more of the acids with the rising steam.
- Add chard to soups or casseroles.
- Use chard in place of or in addition to spinach when preparing lasagna.
- Toss penne pasta with lemon juice, garlic, and cooked chard.
- Add cooked chard to scrambles and frittatas.