Silver Beet/Swiss Chard/Seakale Beet
Chard is a two for one vegetable as you can use the leaves as you would spinach and you can also eat the stalks by steaming them or turning them into 'chips.' If you have kidney or gallbladder problems, you might be best to avoid chard though as it contains high levels of oxalic acid which is the chemical that crystallises to form both kidney stones and gallstones.
Sow seeds direct or in punnets.
- Summer in sub arctic areas
- Spring in areas with cold winters (seeds started early spring will need to be started indoors)
- Late winter - summer in areas with cool winters
- Mid winter - early autumn in temperate areas
- All year round in warm arid, subtropical and tropical areas
Harvesting Silver Beet
Silver beet is typically ready to harvest 8 - 12 weeks after germination.
Using Silver Beet
Chard leaves should be either steamed or boiled and then they can be eaten as a cooked vegetable or as a salad green. Do not use the cooking water for making stock or soup etc. as it will contain high levels of oxalic acid. The stems are good boiled, sautéed or deep fried.
Silver Beet Nutrition
Chard contains high levels of vitamins K, A, C and E and is a valuable sauce of iron, magnesium and fibre. Oxalic acid can prevent the absorption of iron but enough oxalic acid is removed from chard when its boiled or steamed that you can still absorb some of the iron. There are varieties of silver beet that have brightly coloured stems and these contain carotenoids.
Storing Silver Beet