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Explore growing, preparing, & preserving local food in rural central Illinois and the community impact of buying local
Swiss Chard
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Run out of Spinach? Try Locally Grown Swiss Chard


Another weekend, another local farmers market. Last weekend, after applying plenty of sunscreen, I ventured over to the Farmer's Market in Staunton, IL. Staunton's Farmer's Market is located on the corner of Union & Mill Street in Staunton and runs from 8:00am-12:00pm on Saturdays, May through October. If you are curious what is available, check out their Facebook page weekly: Staunton Farmer's Market. The Facebook page may be helpful for meal planning for the week. One lesson I've learned on many of my trips to the local farmers market, always arrive early for the best selection.

While visiting Staunton's Farmers Market, I picked up a few bunches of Swiss chard. Swiss chard, a relative of beets, is leafy vegetables with colorful stems. The flavor of Swiss chard is similar to spinach, with slightly bitter leaves, sweeter stems, and a unique salty flavor. Swiss chard should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer unwashed for 2-3 days. If unable to consume all the Swiss chard within 2-3 days, try freezing it. Swiss chard leaves freeze well, after blanching, at 0°F for up to 1 year. Learn more about properly freezing chard from, University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow.

Swiss chard, similar to other vegetables, is a low calorie vegetable with only 7 calories per cup. One cup of Swiss chard has 136 milligrams of potassium, 77 milligrams sodium, 44 % of the daily vitamin A recommendation, and 18% of vitamin C recommendation. Swiss chard is also an excellent source of magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for bone health and blood clotting. Those who take blood-thinning medications should consult their physician before increasing their intake of foods high in vitamin K such as spinach, collards, or Swiss chard. Swiss chard takes advantage of every calorie, offering a variety of vitamins, minerals, and disease fighting antioxidants in every bite.

Swiss chard is a great substitute for spinach, but may require a little longer cooking time. There is a variety of methods to consume Swiss chard, try a few suggestions below or work it into a breakfast meal with the Crustless Swiss Chard Quiche recipe below.

PREPARATION IDEAS:

  • Rinse the leaves, and toss it in a salad with a favorite vinaigrette
  • Sauté Swiss chard with a little olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers
  • Add it to soup. Chard cooks down similar to other leafy vegetables and adds an extra nutrient boost in chili, chicken soup, or stews
  • Replace the lettuce on a sandwich with Swiss chard
  • A simple, flavorful, addition to an omelet, frittata, or egg casserole

Crustless Swiss Chard Quiche

Serves 8

4 eggs

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped, yellow onion

3 cups fresh Swiss chard, torn or chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

½ cup low fat milk

2 cups reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

¼ tsp. black ground pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

  1. Wash hands. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare a glass 9" pie plate with nonstick spray.
  2. Rinse and chop Swiss chard. Pat dry removing as much moisture as possible.
  3. Sauté chard, onions, bell pepper in olive oil until stems are tender and leaves have wilted.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk milk and eggs until well combined. Add in cheese, garlic powder, and pepper.
  5. Fold the chard, onion, and pepper mixture into the egg mix.
  6. Pour ingredients in sprayed pie plate. Bake until set (knife inserted near center will come out clean), about 40-45 minutes. Use a food thermometer to ensure the dish reaches 160°F. Place the thermometer in the center and sides of dish making sure the entire dish reaches 160°F.

Nutrition Facts (1/8 recipe): Calories 110, Total Fat 3g (Saturated 1g), Cholesterol 85mg, Sodium 350mg, Total Carbohydrate 6g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 13g, Vitamin A 40% DV, Vitamin C 50% DV, Calcium 30% DV, Iron 4% DV


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