A bagful, a sinkful, a plateful – maybe a bellyful

I’m talking about growing, harvesting and cooking Spinach and Chard. It all starts around this time of year, sowing seeds in teeny pots to be planted out as young seedlings, watered in and forgotten about until autumn.

Rainbow Chard Seedlings
Rainbow Chard Seedlings

Throughout Autumn and Winter there are plentiful pickings of the green stuff. During the darkest days of winter the growth is at it’s slowest – who can blame the plants sitting out there in all weathers!

Come Spring, new shoots appear, and as the days lengthen and lighten the spurts of growth are visible. A refreshing sight to see new green shoots and the pickings start again.

Spinach and Chard (3)

Now we are reaching the end of May and the plants have done their best, they have supplied us well but are now at the end of their useful lives – starting to bolt and flower.

Spinach and Chard (1)

Time to chop them down, collect the good young leaves – collect a bagfull to take home, give them a good clean up so they are a sinkful or a colanderful, next up is chopping them and poping them into a pan with a dash of water, so they become a panful, a quick blanch/heat through and they are drained. Their final journey is to become scontainerful for the freezer as I don’t want a bellyful – well not all at once.

Spinach and Chard_05_22_13 (2)

From here they will be added to dals, soups, and pies – a versatile flavour packed green.

Spinach and Chard (2)

And if like me you like a dip or two how about an unrecipe of Greek style yoghurt, chopped garlic, a pinch of salt and a small bowlfull of spinach and chard?

SpinachAndYoghurt

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50 comments

  • Lovely! We’re just about to cut ours back but it’s really too far gone for us to eat. Our chickies will be very happy though 🙂 Love that dip….

  • I simply love-love-love spinach but Peder claims that it makes him gag. He sounds like a cat with a fur ball when he eats it. But maybe I could hide it in a dip, and he’d never know? 😀

    • Nooooo a cat with a fur ball is a deeply unpleasant thought let alone sound and sight 🙂 Maybe you could puree the spinach/chard and then mix it into the yoghurt…..

      • He’ll eat it raw in salads – just not cooked. 🙂 In a yoghurt based dip is good idea though.

  • The chard here was showing no signs of starting to grow again this year, then I discovered the hens were eating the fresh leaves as soon as they appeared… Which means that new seedlings are going to have to be well protected now they have a taste for chard!

    • your hens have well developed taste buds 🙂 I find the young shoots are vulnerable to slugs and snails, but it is later on in the growing season that the sparrows seem to like it – I find small holes in the leaves, and they are the culprits 🙂

  • Love, love, love spinach and of late have been a naughty girl by adding lashings of butter salt and pepper to some wilted leaves and pretending its all healthy.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  • I can already sense health and wellness by just reading the article and watching the pictures. How much more if it is right in front of me. It really makes me crave for it.

  • Alas, I have no overwintered chard this year…but I *do* have baby seedlings for next!
    Fingers crossed that something eats the voles before they eat my plants!

  • Putting things by for later is one of the joys of growing food. You’ve captured that feeling in your words & photos! (I also loved your book club post earlier — just getting caught up now that I’m home. Good food, good times, good books!) Thanks for your thoughts!

    • A pleasure and thank you for popping into the Promenade 🙂
      and just to make you laugh I’m still waiting to hear what the next book is, honestly our sense of timekeeping is laughable ! In the meantime it gives me a chance to catch up on some of my own reading 🙂

  • How wonderful to have fresh vegetables to pick from your very own garden. That dip looks delightful and a fraction of the calories than the store bought kind.

  • Claire, I love your post but I can’t show any enthusiasm. My freezer is full to its limit with frozen silverbeet, I can’t imagine an end to it:)

  • Oh my goodness, Claire — I just entered through your new ‘front door’ rather than directly to an individual post, and I love the new format of small photo excerpts.

  • Lovely piece on two easy to grow leafy greens, both are fun to experiment with in the kitchen too! Love your raita-style yogurt idea! Perfect thought, I’m gonna try that out:)

    • Oh it may be green but it’s bloody freezing!! I can’t believe how cold it’s been, I even ended up putting the heating on last night – and I keep saying to myself but it’s May, it should be warm…..

  • What a great and practical way to store the goodness of these tender greens when they’re in season and filling your garden.

  • I’ve never thought to freeze chard, what a great idea! Thanks Claire! We were nearly over-run with it last year, but then it was gone and we moved from leafy greens to courgettes. I must remember this tip – our chard has just gone in for the year.. 🙂

  • Beautiful fresh greens. I am so envious of your fresh garden that you know has no pesticides or anything that you did not want on them. You can eat them right out of the garden. I think your fresh greens are just begging to be in a salad.
    On a side note I think I know why you can leave a comment on my website. I think you need to update your gravatar information. In your gravatar make sure that your e-mail, website link, facebook, etc are all updated with your correct info. I think this will help you get all sorted. Take care, BAM

  • I believe this is my cue to get out and snip a good batch of the chard by the front door. Greens for supper tomorrow! Hurray! Thanks for the nudge. 😉

  • Not a big fan .. of chard – but the idea of putting it into the Greek yogurt … tickles a bit. I love spinach in any form and shape … You have more greens than you can ask for.

  • Oh yes! Greens like spinach, kale and chard are my reason for gardening, if I’m honest. Everything else I like just fine, but nothing compares to these gorgeous greens.

  • I love fresh greens and lately I can’t seem to get enough chard. We haven’t been growing it, though, and I need to think about that! 🙂 I love the dip idea, Claire. Were you putting some of your spinach and chard in freezer containers? Does it freeze well?

  • Looks beautiful and tempting in the pictures. Had I just read the text, I don’t think I would have had any desire to taste it… but seeing it… Very good.

  • I have been trying to grow chard since we moved here. This year it grew great guns and looked amazing! I took it to the kitchen and added it fresh to a salad and dug in. My throat got all scratchy and my tongue started tingling…

    I just read through your comments and saw the mention of chickens liking it. Problem solved! I love the look of Rainbow Swiss chard in the garden. So, if I can’t have it, well then, I can look at it growing in the garden and then feed it to my chickens! 😉

    • Hi Wendy, in fact reading your comment reminds me that there is Chard in the freezer!! The freezer sometimes seems to become some kind of weird monster that gobbles up food that is never to be seen again 🙂

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