A relative of the beet, chard is a mellow, earthy green that peaks from June through October. Both the leaves and stems, which are often vibrantly colored, are edible. Sauté the leaves simply with garlic and olive oil, stuff them with filling as you would grape leaves, or use them anywhere you’d use spinach or beet greens. Chopped stems can be pickled, cooked on their own, or prepared along with the leaves—just allow them to cook until nearly done before adding the leaves, as the stems take longer to cook.
HOW TO BUY
Choose bunches with crisp stalks and fresh-looking leaves that aren’t cracked; avoid wilted or browning leaves.
HOW TO STORE
Store chard wrapped in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer for up to 3 days, away from ethylene gas-releasing fruits like apples, apricots, melons, and figs. Stalks separated from the leaves will keep slightly longer.
HOW TO PREPARE
Remove any browning or wilted leaves. Wash with cold running water or agitate in a bowl of cold water, remove the leaves, and repeat with fresh water if necessary. Spin dry or pat dry with kitchen towels. If the stalks are large, you can peel off any tough outer strings.