Chard

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Chard
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]
 
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"Silverbeet" redirects here. For the album by The Bats, see Silverbeet (album).
Chard
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]

Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla),[1] is a leafy green vegetable often used in Mediterranean cooking. While the leaves are always green, chard stalks 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, in fact, considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available and a valuable addition to a healthy diet (not unlike other green leafy vegetables). [5] Chard has been around for centuries, but because of its similarity to beets is difficult to determine the exact evolution of the different varieties of chard. [6]

Contents

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 (due to the bright and vivid spring colors when they are cooked or provided as a medley of vegetables), seakale beet, and mangold. [8]

Etymology

Swiss chard growing in New Jersey at a nursery.

The word "Swiss" was used to distinguish chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalog publishers. The 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 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.[9] Raw chard is extremely perishable.

Cultivars

Swiss chard on sale at an outdoor market

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 hearty leafy greens, with a harvest season typically lasting longer than kale, spinach or baby greens. When day-time temperatures start to regularly hit 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the harvest season is coming to an end.

Culinary use

Chard sauteed with garlic and leeks

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

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

Chard, swiss, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy84 kJ (20 kcal)
Carbohydrates4.13
- Sugars1.10
- Dietary fiber2.1
Fat0.08
Protein1.88
Water92.65
Alcohol0
Caffeine0
Vitamin A6124 IU
- beta-carotene3652 μg (34%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin11015 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1)0.034 mg (3%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)0.086 mg (7%)
Niacin (vit. B3)0.360 mg (2%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)0.163 mg (3%)
Vitamin B60.085 mg (7%)
Folate (vit. B9)9 μg (2%)
Vitamin B120. μg (0%)
Choline28.7 mg (6%)
Vitamin C18.0 mg (22%)
Vitamin D0 μg (0%)
Vitamin D0 IU (0%)
Vitamin E1.89 mg (13%)
Vitamin K327.3 μg (312%)
Calcium58 mg (6%)
Iron2.26 mg (17%)
Magnesium86 mg (24%)
Manganese0.334 mg (16%)
Phosphorus33 mg (5%)
Potassium549 mg (12%)
Sodium179 mg (12%)
Zinc0.33 mg (3%)
Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
Source: 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.[10] It is also rich in minerals, dietary fiber and protein.[11]

Members of the Saurian clade of reptiles (specifically Iguana iguana) sometimes consume chard for its iron content: the stalk retains more iron compounds than the leaves, hence their rosy color.[citation needed]

All parts of the chard plant contain oxalic acid.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c  This plant, treated as a subspecies of Beta vulgaris, was first published in Synopsis der Deutschen und Schweizer Flora 2: 720. 1846. Its basionym is B. vulgaris var. cicla L. "Name - Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla (L.) W.D.J.Koch". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/Name/7201442. Retrieved August 26, 2011. "Basionym: Beta vulgaris var. cicla L." 
  2. ^ a b  The basionym of B. vulgaris subsp. cicla (B. vulgaris var. cicla L.) was originally described and published in Species Plantarum 1: 222. 1753. "Name - Beta vulgaris var. cicla L.". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/Name/7200834. Retrieved August 26, 2011. "Annotation: as "Cicla"" 
  3. ^ [1] 17 November 2011, The New York Times
  4. ^ [2] 17 November 2011, Wise Geek
  5. ^ [3] World's Healthiest Foods, George Mateljan Foundation, 17 November 2011 World's Healthiest Foods
  6. ^ [4] 17 November 2011 Clifford A. Wright
  7. ^ Characterization and biological activity of the main flavonoids from Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris subspecies cycla). Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology, 01-FEB-07
  8. ^ a b Eat with the beet, Monty Don, 9 February 2003, The Guardian
  9. ^ Dobbs, Liz (2012). "It's chard to beet". The Garden (Royal Horticultural Society) 137 (6): 54. 
  10. ^ Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Chard
  11. ^ Worlds Healthiest Foods