How to Store & Cook Red Ruby Swiss Chard for Health Benefits

Late summer and throughout autumn is the peak season for Swiss chard.

Late summer and throughout autumn is the peak season for Swiss chard.

Red ruby Swiss chard has only seven calories per serving but gives your body over 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K. The leafy veggie is also a great source of magnesium, calcium, thiamine, zinc, fiber, folate, potassium and vitamins A, C and E. Red ruby Swiss chard is a versatile vegetable you can serve at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Selecting and Storing Red Ruby Swiss Chard

To enjoy the crunchiest and sweetest Swiss chard, choose a vivid green bunch from a chilled display. The leaves should not be brown, yellow or wilted, and the stalks should be unblemished, bright red and crisp. Water encourages the chard to spoil, so do not wash it before storing. Place the red ruby Swiss chard in a plastic storage bag. Tightly wrap the bag around the stem and leaves, eliminating as much air as possible from the bag. The chard will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to five days. If you need to store large batches of the vegetable, blanch the leaves before freezing them in plastic bags.

Preparing Red Ruby Swiss Chard for Cooking

Run the chard under cold water. Soaking the chard will cause a reduction of water-soluble nutrients, so just wash it quickly. Remove leaves that are brown, holey or slimy. Stack the leaves together and cut one-inch slices, stopping at the stems. The stems of red ruby Swiss chard are not tender enough for consumption and should be discarded.

Healthy Ways to Cook Red Ruby Swiss Chard

The simplest way to enjoy Swiss chard is to serve it sauteed with garlic, lemon juice and just a hint of salt and pepper. This makes a delicious and healthy dish that pairs well with both meats and pastas. Boiling red ruby Swiss chard releases acids and creates a sweeter taste. Rapidly boil a pot of water and cook the chard leaves for just a few minutes uncovered. Cooking Swiss chard this way can decrease the vegetable's acid content by as much as 50 percent.

Serving Ideas for Red Ruby Swiss Chard

You can add red ruby Swiss chard to breakfast by tossing some leaves in an omelet or frittata. Enjoy the vegetable mixed with penne pasta, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. The leaves can also be used as a substitute for spinach in lasagnas or other dishes. Red ruby Swiss chard is especially delicious when paired with mushrooms in a whole-wheat lasagna. For a fast lunch or dinner, wrap pecans, minced garlic, red onions, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers in large chard leaves.

 

About the Author

Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.

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