Baby Chard

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Chard is a leafy green vegetable similar to beets. It’s not yet that popular in the United States, but with the interest in healthy diets and in replacing as much meat with healthy vegetables as possible it’s gaining in popularity.

It’s mostly used in making salads, soups and omelets. Even though it’s known by the name Swiss chard as well it’s not known where it originates from, but it’s definitely not in Switzerland. The first colonist brought it in the US and it’s been grown here ever since.

Baby Chard Trivia

  • It’s a plant with many alternative names including: silverbeet, Roman kale, and strawberry spinach.
  • It grows in the wild without any cultivation needed and big patches of chard could still be found in Africa
  • Chard can grow up to two feet.

Baby Chard Buying Guide

It has large green leafs and it’s the quality of those leafs that you should be aware of. They should appear to be fresh green and thin in order to get the best taste out of them. The leafs are also delicate to the touch.

The plant is available year round so you don’t have to look for the best time to buy it or spend time and effort on storing it unless you’re doing it for meal prepping reasons. As is often the case, it’s best to buy local.

Baby Chard Production & Farming in Texas

Baby chards are mostly produced in North Texas because that’s the climate that suits their needs especially in terms of climate. There are two crops a year, one planted in winter and early spring and the other planted in September for the fall harvest.

They are planted in two ways. Sometimes it’s done by planting the baby chard directly into the ground and sometimes they are held in green houses over winter and then transplanted into the ground when the weather allows for it.

The harvest takes place 35-40 days after germination, but the leaves could be cut before that and after depending on their size and how tender they are. That means that one plant can supply more than one harvest. Harvesting is best done in early mornings when the leafs are filled with water.

There are 3 key factors to growing chards: water, soil fertility, and climate. Texas is perfectly suited for all of these, at least in the northern regions. Recently there is a growing number of central Texas cultivators and they are mostly using the help of a greenhouse to achieve the same effect.

Pesticides

Slugs and snails are the most common problem for growing baby chards and that’s why pesticides are used on them, all through some farmers are using more organic ways to deal with the problem, but with poorer results.

Geography

Baby Chard is a form of beat that grows more outwards in its leafs than beneath the ground as most beats do. As such it can be found anywhere from Africa to the US, but when it comes to culinary uses it’s the most popular in the Mediterranean.

In the US it’s mostly grown in Texas and California because that’s where there’s the most need for it in terms of the culinary use, but it’s been around since the founding and before it, so it can be grown pretty much anywhere where the frosts won’t kill it.

Packaging

The packaging options depend on where you buy the chards. If you’re buying it in the grocery shops they will probably be packed in cardboard boxes. If you buy them from a farmer directly they will probably sell by found and in plastic bags.

Eating Baby Chards

Baby chards have a mild flavor and that means they are suitable to many different kinds of dishes and culinary options. When you’re buying it you should have at least some plan as to how you plan to use it, since fresh and more tender leafs are better for salads and toppings. If you plan to cook or grill and steam the chards, then you don’t need to worry about them being tender right there in the shop.

It’s also important to remember that the chards could be used as roll ups and that makes it a fun and clan alternative to tacos. Don’t hesitate to experiment a bit and find what your taste is.

Storage

The key is not to wash chards before storing because the water will make them spoil faster. They can be stored simply by putting them in a plastic bag and making sure that the bag is closed securely, by squeezing as much air out of it as you can.

They can be kept in refrigerator up to five days without losing any qualities. After that, you probably shouldn’t use them anymore.

Cooking

Cooking chard means that it will shrink a lot in volume once you remove all the water from it, so you’ll need to purchase more than you plan to eat. It’s best to cut the recipe in half and make smaller batchers first so you can figure out the amounts you need.

Steams need to be cooked longer than the leafs of the plant so do it separately or you’ll spoil both at once and no one wants that. Steams should be cooked with onions because they take the same time to be done and they balance each other in taste.

Start the process by wilting the greens in a closed skillet and continue the cooking with an open one, once they are done.

Nutrition

Swiss chard contains lesser amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
Swiss chard contains the antioxidants alpha and beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline.
A cup of Swiss chard provides 44 percent of the daily allowance of vitamin A and 18 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin C.
However, consumers should not add salt to Swiss chard, because it already has 103 mg of sodium per raw cup, which is 4.5 percent of the recommended daily allowance.

Baby chards can play a big role in a battling diabetes, preventing cancer, and slowing down the effects of old age.

When Are Baby Chard in Season in Texas?

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  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • Oktober
  • November
  • December

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Baby Chard in Texas Directly from the Producer

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