How to Make Chard Edible


Now, I know there are some (maybe many) people out there who consider this to be already the case ; not least, those lovely guys in Dorset who keep piling me up with the stuff in my organic veg box. ( I should just add here, for those of you that aren’t as posh as me, with my veg delivery and that) :  the deal with this particular veg box is that you can’t choose what you get : it’s seasonal veg, right, and so you get what’s in season, and if you don’t like it, then go to the supermarket and buy your save-the-world-organics air-freighted from Kenya and wrapped in plastic.

And there will be many keen growers who will tell me about how few pests it has, and how it will miraculously keep going through the depths of winter, then spring into life again from the same plant in february. And that it comes in a plethora of pretty stalk colours, so that you can plant it in your flower border as well. Also, being leafy and green, it is probably full of vitamins and essential nutrients, like iron and vitamins C and E at the very least.

And they would be right.

But they would be forgetting one thing, which for me is arguably the most important quality of a vegetable,  and that is that  IT’S  DISGUSTING. It sets my teeth on edge, it sticks in my throat, it doesn’t ‘blend in’ to the other ingredients, No, it just stays there in nasty greenish brown strips, and ruins whatever dish you have foolishly added it to, thinking you will not notice, by making it taste OF CHARD.

And, by the way, growers, have you ever wondered why it’s so pest free? Have you ever thought it might be so throat-scrapingly revolting that even caterpillars turn their noses up at it? That greenfly would rather die in winter than cuddle up in its cosy, (but utterly repulsive) leaves

Now, in case you think I am just being childish about eating my greens, well, I’m not, because I really go off the deep end for these other leafy veg :

Cavolo Nero ; steamed and embellished with a slick of onion gravy : better than asparagus!

Pak choi, with its crunchy stalks, and tangy leaves is welcome in salads and stir fries alike.
Normal spinach, wilted with butter, and a little black pepper : come to my plate.
Brussels Sprouts : yes you’re a faff to prepare, but I will promise to eat you at least once a year, probably for the rest of my life.

So you get the picture ; it’s not me, it’s the Chard.

And Chard, for the benefit of those friends who have ‘benefited’ from my gifts of Chard over the years, does not taste nicer if there are prawns in it, or with little crunchy chunks of dry-fried chorizo, or cooked and sprinkled with a little sesame oil and shoyu seeds. It cannot be roasted or added to cakes like its unpopular cousins, the beetroot and the parsnip. It will not be nice in a quiche, or a welcome addition to a risotto. For me it really is like green eggs and ham, and I have tried it and I still do not like it.

Although I did hear of someone once who mistook it for rhubarb, threw the leaves away, and made it into a rather delicious crumble!

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