A relatively new worker at a wholesale produce market was looking for a case of Swiss chard in the pallets of produce that had just come in from the commission market. Not finding any box that said "chard", and knowing that many vegetables go by more than one name, he asked, "What's another name for chard?" Another employee, with even less experience, answered, "Burnt."
Ah, but there is another name for chard. It's "silverbeet". It is actually a member of the beet family, but bred to produce nutritious leaves rather than roots.
This is peak season for Swiss chard. Like kale, chard has one of the highest ratios of nutrients to calories. A 1-cup serving of boiled chard contains a mere 35 calories, while providing better than half of the RDA of vitamin C, 22% of the iron, a quarter of the potassium, twice the vitamin A, and seven times the vitamin K. Not to mention it’s tasty. However, one thing it isn’t is Swiss; it was original cultivated in the Mediterranean.
One tip on cooking chard: it boils better than it steams. Boiling leaches out more of the oxalic acid than steaming does, resulting in a much tastier dish. Boil the chard uncovered.
Also plentiful right now are the artichokes from Castroville. Click here to read my artichoke blog.