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Swiss chard

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Swiss chard

For other uses, see Chard (disambiguation).
"Silverbeet" redirects here. For the album by The Bats, see Silverbeet (album).
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Red chard growing at Slow Food Nation
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Betoideae
Genus: Beta
Species: B. vulgaris
Subspecies: B. vulgaris subsp. cicla
(L.) W.D.J.Koch [1][2]
Synonyms[1][2]
  • Beta vulgaris var. cicla L. (basionym)

Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla),[1] is a leafy green vegetable often used in Mediterranean cooking. The leaves can be green or reddish in color like Bib Lettuce, chard stalks also vary in color.[3] Chard has been bred to have highly nutritious leaves at the expense of the root (which is not as nutritious as the leaves).[4] Chard is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available, and is a valuable addition to a healthy diet (like other green leafy vegetables).[5] Chard has been around for centuries, but because of its similarity to beets it is difficult to determine the exact evolution of the different varieties of chard.[6]

Classification

Chard and the other beets are chenopods, a group which is either its own family Chenopodiaceae or a subfamily within the Amaranthaceae. Although the leaves of chard are eaten, it is in the same species as beetroot (garden beet), which is grown primarily for its edible roots. Both are cultivated descendants of the sea beet, Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima, but they were selected for different characteristics.

Chard is also known by its many common names such as Swiss chard,[7] silverbeet, perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, bright lights, seakale beet, and mangold.[8] In South Africa, it is simply called spinach.[9]

Etymology

The word "Swiss" was used to distinguish chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalog publishers. Chard is very popular among Mediterranean cooks. The first varieties have been traced back to Sicily.

Growth and harvesting

Clusters of chard seeds are usually sown, in the Northern Hemisphere, between April and August, depending on the desired harvesting period. Chard can be harvested while the leaves are young and tender, or after maturity when they are larger and have slightly tougher stems. Harvesting is a continuous process, as most species of chard produce three or more crops.[10] Raw chard is extremely perishable.

Cultivars

Cultivars of chard include green forms, such as 'Lucullus' and 'Fordhook Giant', as well as red-ribbed forms such as 'Ruby Chard' and 'Rhubarb Chard'.[8] The red-ribbed forms are very attractive in the garden, but as a rough general rule, the older green forms will tend to out-produce the colorful hybrids. 'Rainbow Chard' is a mix of other colored varieties that is often mistaken for a variety unto itself.

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

Chard is a spring harvest plant. In the Northern Hemisphere, chard is typically ready to harvest as early as April and lasts through May. Chard is one of the more hardy leafy greens, with a harvest season typically lasting longer than kale, spinach or baby greens. When day-time temperatures start to regularly hit 30 °C (86 °F), the harvest season is coming to an end.

Culinary use

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.

Nutritional content

Swiss Chard, cooked, no salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 84 kJ (20 kcal)
Carbohydrates 4.13 g
- Sugars 1.1 g
- Dietary fiber 2.1 g
Fat 0.08 g
Protein 1.88 g
Water 92.65 g
Vitamin A equiv. 306 μg (38%)
Vitamin A 6124 IU
- beta-carotene 3652 μg (34%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin 11015 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.034 mg (3%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.086 mg (7%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0.36 mg (2%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.163 mg (3%)
Vitamin B6 0.085 mg (7%)
Folate (vit. B9) 9 μg (2%)
Choline 28.7 mg (6%)
Vitamin C 18 mg (22%)
Vitamin E 1.89 mg (13%)
Vitamin K 327.3 μg (312%)
Calcium 58 mg (6%)
Iron 2.26 mg (17%)
Magnesium 86 mg (24%)
Manganese 0.334 mg (16%)
Phosphorus 33 mg (5%)
Potassium 549 mg (12%)
Sodium 179 mg (12%)
Zinc 0.33 mg (3%)
USDA Nutrient Database

Swiss chard is high in vitamins A, K and C, with a 175 g serving containing 214%, 716%, and 53%, respectively, of the recommended daily value.[11] It is also rich in minerals, dietary fiber and protein.[12]

All parts of the chard plant contain oxalic acid.

See also

Chard has a slightly bitter taste and is used in a variety of cultures around the world, including Arab cuisine.


References

External links

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