Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley

Dedicated to the Preservation and Understanding of Food History

Spotlight on Food History

This page will highlight Historic Sites, Suppliers, Food Festivals, interesting information and organizations throughout the HFSDV member areas. 


We hope you will take an opportunity to check out some of the locations on your travels and support the historic sites & vendors around the region!


If you are active at a historic site and would like it featured in an upcoming month, please contact the webmaster with information, contact, email, etc.

CHARD Your Course!

Meet your match, Kale, this leafy underdog is

ready to go the distance.


By Liz Donovan

Spring 2017 | CentralJerseyHealthandLife.com



In the arena of superfoods, leafy greens are the

Crowd favorites, offering a low-calorie, low-fat

source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

But with spinach and kale stealing the spotlight,

one nutritional all-star is often overlooked. 


Part of the goosefoot family of vegetables, along with spinach and beets, chard goes by many names, including Swiss chard, spinach beet and silverbeet, to name a few.  But no matter what you call it, there’s no doubt it touts plenty of health benefits.



Worried about weight?  Simply washing your dishes after dinner will be enough to burn off the calories you take in from a serving of raw chard—one cup has only 7 calories (about the same as raw spinach), and a cup of cooked chard has approximately 35 calories (that’s about 5 minutes of light jogging, if you’re counting).  It’s also lacking in fat (less than 1 gram in 1 cup cooked) and sugar (2 grams), leaving room for more of the good stuff, including about 700 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin K, which supports bone and blood health.  It delivers a substantial amount of vitamin A, which promotes eye health and boosts immune function, and it’s a significant source of vitamin C, fiber, iron, magnesium and potassium.  Chard is also believed to be beneficial to those with diabetes because it contains an antioxidant called syringic acid that studies have shown may help to regulate glucose levels.



Available in green, red and rainbow varieties, chard can be purchased at most supermarkets, usually alongside kale and other leafy greens.  Look for crisp stems and healthy leaves that aren’t wilted or brown.  Store chard by wrapping it in a dry paper towel, placing it in a plastic bag that is left unsealed, and keeping the bag in the refrigerator.  Depending on freshness, it will last from several days to as long as a week.  Chard has the same culinary flexibility as its cousin spinach: as a salad base, in a frittata, sautéed with garlic, or simply braised or steamed.  To prepare chard, wash it well in cold water, taking care to remove any grit, and cut the leaves away from the stems (the stems can be cooked separately in soups or a stir-fry).



What exactly is in a name?  In the case of this vegetable, a lot of confusion.  Often called Swiss Chard, it’s actually believed to have originated in Italy and is a staple in Mediterranean diets.  In fact, no one is quite sure where the “Swiss” part comes from.  Some believe “Chard” originated from the French word carde or the Latin word carduus, both referring to an artichoke thistle plant.  In South Africa, it is simply called “spinach.”



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 hardier leafy greens, with a harvest season typically lasting longer than kale, spinach or baby greens. When daytime temperatures start to regularly hit 86 °F, the harvest season is coming to an end.


In Egyptian cuisine, chard is commonly cooked with taro root and coriander in a light broth.  In Turkish cuisine, chard is cooked as soup, sarma or börek.


· Plant chard seeds 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost date. Continue planting seeds at 10-day intervals for a month. 

· For a fall harvest, plant chard seeds again about 40 days before the first fall frost date. When the plants are 3 to 4 inches tall, thin them out so that they are 4 to 6 inches apart or 9 to 12 inches apart if the plants are larger.

· Water the plants evenly to help them grow better. Water often during dry spells in the summer. You can also mulch the plants to help conserve moisture.


· For the best quality, cut the plants back when they are about 1 foot tall. If the chard plants become overgrown, they lose their flavor. 

· You can start harvesting when the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. Cut off the outer leaves 1-½ inches above the ground with a sharp knife. 

· If you harvest the leaves carefully, new leaves will grow and provide another harvest.

Allrecipes.com listed several interesting chard recipes including: Chard Tacos, Chard Quiche, Savory Zucchini-Chard Muffins, Swiss chard and Pecan Pesto, and Vegan Borscht.  Take the time to check out this delicious, nutritious vegetable!

This website is a project of the Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley and the text and

graphic contents of this website are © 2017 by the Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley



Page Update May 7, 2017


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Susan Luczu—Webmaster—2014-2017