Gardening Questions

We’ve been gone for two weeks, and arrived to a bounty crop of Kale and Swiss Chard … now our questions:

1. How to prepare each for salads? What do we cut off, leave on, etc?

2. How else to eat each?


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  • Paul

    You can eat both when the leaves are small and young, but after they get a little bigger they are tough and hard to eat without cooking. One way to cook each:L

    1) Sautee them with garlic, olive oil, and salt/pepper. Add some parmesian cheese as you are serving. If you do this with the chard, you should separate the leaves and the stems as the stems need longer to soften than the leaves (maybe 3-5 extra minutes for the stems).

    You can also add them to almost anything cooked with veggies…stir fry’s, sauces, couscous, even grilled cheese.

    Hope that helps.

  • Elizabeth

    West Africa inspired kale with peanut or coconut sauce
    (yummy, easy, healthy!)

    2 large bunches of kale – washed and finely chopped
    1 large onion
    a little oil
    3 cloves garlic – crushed
    2-3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
    1/3 cup (or more) peanut butter (definitely best to use the all natural type – nothing but peanuts)
    1 tsp curry powder (or red pepper chilli flakes – to taste)
    1 small envelope or cube of oxo-type chicken stock powder (optional – you could just add a little salt to taste)

    1. Slice the kale by stacking several leaves then rolling them up tight and slicing finely.
    2. Saute the onion in a bit of oil in a large pan until soft and golden
    3. Add the garlic and ginger and curry powder and saute for another minute or so
    4. Add all the chopped kale and stir.
    5. Add the chicken stock and some water…maybe 1/2 cup, maybe 3/4 cup? Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for about 5-10 minutes until the kale is tender (10 min might be too long?). It will cook down a lot.
    5. Stir in the peanut butter. You may need more water – you want it to have a little bit of sauce but be mostly just kale.

    All measurements are approximate. It is also good with a can of coconut milk in (you could then omit the peanut butter).

    Serve over brown rice.
    (my 3 year old ate 4 bowls of this the other night!)

  • When it comes to Swiss chard, I’m with Paul #1. We have fixed it that way for years. It is one of our favorites, although we never included the cheese, but that does sound like a great addition.

  • Amanda

    This is my favorite recipe for kale:

    As for Swiss Chard, I love preparing it similarly to collard greens. There are some great recipes here:

  • Keith Irwin

    Grab with hand. Shove in mouth.

  • Georges Boujakly

    The more you cut the more harvest you get. Freezes well. Steam or blanch and freeze.
    Swiss chard mediterranean style:
    Cut stalks and leaves to about 3/4″.
    Steam or boil mature leaves with stems.
    remove from water and let drain.
    Make a Tahini sauce: Sesame seed butter, minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Consistency of a thick syrup. May need to add a little water. Blend or mix vigorously.
    Mix with swiss chard. Eaten hot or cold.

    You can also stuff and roll swiss chard as you do cabbage or vine leaves.
    Steam swiss chard leaves, cut stems off.
    put your favorite stuffing (mine is rice, cooked chickpeas, parsley, salt and pepper, lemon juice, garlic, onions).
    Arrange in pot in rows. Cover with water, add a little salt to water. Put a plate to keep from floating.
    Cooks in about an hour. You can do in oven.

  • Greg Smith

    Kale and Sausage

    Chop an onion and mince some garlic and saute in olive oil with some sliced sausage. You can use something like kielbasa or andoiulle. While this is sauteing, pull the greens off the stems and chop. Add to the pan with some chopped bell pepper. Cook until the greens are pretty wilted. Works well with either kale or chard.

  • Dottie

    All of the above recipes sound really yummie. I’m tempted to try them all as greens are exceedingly good to eat and good for you. Chopped Kale or Chard (tough stems removed) are good sauteed with a bit of bacon grease in which onion and garlic have already been sauteed. Season to taste. The Dutch steam greens and add them to mashed potatoes over which they slather ‘jus’ (butter in which the meat was slowly cooked). This butter is delicious. I add sauteed onion to this mixture, but then, I love onions. You can also add chopped greens to soups – especially good in brown bean soups. Enjoy your bumper crop.

  • Dana Ames

    This recipe is the way my grandfather from Piemonte used to fix Swiss chard stalks, handed on to me by my mother. When I want comfort food, this is what I fix. Any color chard tastes good, but I think the white has the best flavor – has a depth and sweetness the others lack.

    Remove stalks from leaves; use leaves for another purpose (I really like chopped chard leaves in soup – also Italian).

    “String” the outer edges of the stalks as you would celery. Wash and cut stalks into 4-5 inch lengths; if the stalks are very wide, as near the base of the plant, cut them in two lengthwise so they’re no more than an inch wide. Steam or boil very gently until just beginning to soften, less than 10 minutes. Let the stalks cool completely. This can be done ahead of time, up to a day; if prepared ahead, refrigerate them, but let them come to room temp before proceeding.

    Prepare an egg dip in a dinner plate (yes, it must be a dinner plate!), 1 egg beaten with a little water, not too thin. Have crushed saltines or Matzo meal with some salt and black pepper mixed in, as for regular breading, ready on waxed paper next to your plate. Slowly heat equal amounts of butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet to about medium temperature. When the butter has melted in the olive oil, swirl the pan to mix. There should be enough fat to be about 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep in the skillet. Make sure the chard stalks are dry. Dip them in the egg wash to cover completely, then in the seasoned cracker or Matzo crumb breading to cover completely. Fry the stalks gently in the butter/olive oil until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

    This is not the classic French technique; there’s no need to dip the stalks in flour first – I’ve tried them that way, and it doesn’t make the finished stalks any crispier, just adds an extra step.

    A meal of breaded Swiss chard stalks accompanied by a nice mixed green salad is very lovely on a summer evening. Do add some cut-up anchovies to your salad. I know you won’t forget the wine 🙂


  • Kale makes a passable excuse for potato chips. Rip the leaves off of the stalks (I do it by hand, but you can use a knife if you like). Toss with olive oil and salt (or whatever you like on chips – chili powder, etc), and cook on a low heat (around 300 degrees) for 20 minutes or so.

  • Mijk V

    The best raw kale recipe I have ever made is the Hail-to-the-Kale Salad.
    The bit of extra time with the pumpkin and sunflower is well worth it.

  • Dave Carlson

    Welcome home! Mate:) Chard is my thing and Paul is spot on. This year I’ve got Fordhook Giant growing. Spring size is great mixed with baby spinach & bok choy just wilted, dollop of butter and light drizzle of balsmic. Big leaves, saute’ cut out stems first then leaves. Omlets, scrambels, soufle’s, stir frys with bacon & onion, pasta & chard. It”s kinda like shrimp, Bubba! On & on. Definately dynamite from the Krebs cycle! Enjoy crop after crop through the fall.

  • jim

    kale chips for sure. the surprising things is how long they have to cook. be patient.

  • I like a good Kale Soup, with potato and sausage in a light broth. Very tasty.

  • Chop and cook several slices of bacon. Remove the bacon and add pressed or minced garlic, chopped chard/kale, salt, and pepper. Cook for only 2-3 minutes and using tongs to turn the greens making sure all are coated with the fat and seasonings. Remove from heat and add the bacon and a squeeze of lemon juice. Turn again with tongs to disperse the bacon and lemon juice. Enjoy. :o)

  • Anna

    We do Italian style soups with kale and chard. Soup base is white beans, carrots, celery, onions, tomatos (and if our kids weren’t vegetarian I might throw in some sausage) and then add chopped kale or chard. Very healthy and satisfying. These soups are especially good the next day, and great served with garlic bread.

  • Kale Chips!

    First you need to clean and dry a head of kale. Grasp one leaf of kale by the softer leafy part and pull off the woody stem. (Yes, you can cut it off, but it’s quicker to just do it by hand.) Immerse each de-stemmed leaf in a large vessel of cold water. Use your hands to really dunk the kale and move it around to ensure you get all of the un-delicious sand out of it’s beautiful, ribbony leaves. If your kale is a little wilty, leave it in the cold water for several minutes to refresh it a bit.

    Dry the kale very well, preferably by using a salad spinner. Put the dried kale in a bowl and mix in a little bit of olive oil and some salt to taste. How much? I dunno. It depends on how big or small your head of kale is. The oil should barely coat the leaves, and the salt should not be the star; a pinch should do it.

    Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper and spread the kale in a single layer on it. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about ten minutes, then, using tongs (or asbestos hands if you’ve got them 😉 ), rearrange the kale a bit to ensure even cooking. Return to the oven until the leaves are mostly dry and crispy. Be careful and monitor often, as the kale can go from not quite cooked to burned to a crisp pretty quickly. For the best textural experience, eat these within a couple of hours.

    Need another plan for that kale in your fridge? Try throwing some in a gorgeous soup towards the end of its cooking time.