Know your Chard

  • Chard, Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima, also known by the common names Swiss Chard, Silverbeet, Perpetual Spinach, Spinach Beet, Crab Beet, Seakale Beet, and Mangold, is a leafy vegetable, and is one of the cultivated descendants of the sea beet. 

  • Although the leaves are eaten, it is in the same species as beetroot (garden beet) which is usually grown primarily for its edible roots.


  • The word Swiss was used to distinguish chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalogue publishers. 

  • The chard is very popular among Mediterranean cooks. 

  • The first varieties have been traced back to Sicily.


  • Chard can be harvested while the leaves are young and tender or after maturity when they are larger and have slightly tougher stems. 

  • Raw chard is extremely perishable.

  • Chard has shiny green ribbed leaves, with stems that range from white to yellow and red depending on the cultivar. 

  • It has a slightly bitter taste. 

  • Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. 

  • Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked (like in pizzoccheri) or sauteed; their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavor which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach.


  • Cultivars of chard include green forms, such as 'Lucullus' and 'Fordhook Giant', as well as red-ribbed forms such as 'Ruby Chard', 'Rainbow Chard', and 'Rhubarb Chard'.

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