The harvest time of the chard can vary depending on the variety. We show when and how to harvest Swiss chard correctly and what to consider when storing it.
Swiss chard ( Beta vulgaris subsp. Vulgaris ) is considered healthy and versatile in the kitchen. It also contains numerous healthy vitamins and minerals. However, if the vegetables are not harvested and stored properly, the valuable ingredients are lost. To prevent this from happening to you, this article will tell you when the best time to harvest Swiss chard is, how to harvest it correctly and how to store the delicious vegetables.
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What could be nicer than being able to reap the harvest of your work after a long period of care and attention? The Swiss chard is an undemanding vegetable that can easily grow in your own garden. And with the right technique, you can harvest Swiss chard all summer.
When and how long can you harvest Swiss chard?
Swiss chard can be harvested all summer long into autumn. Mangold leaves are already ready for harvest eight to ten weeks after sowing and can be harvested from mid-June to the end of October. Long-handled chard takes a little longer to be ready for harvest: Ten to twelve weeks after sowing, you can start harvesting it. From the end of May to the end of October, the stalked chard provides fresh, crisp leaves and stems.
When is the best time to harvest Swiss chard?
- Mangold leaf: 8-10 weeks ripening time; Harvest from mid-April to late October
- Long-handled chard: 10 – 12 weeks ripening time; Harvest from April to the end of October
Tip: If you have a greenhouse, you can also grow Swiss chard there and harvest the delicious vegetables fresh all year round.
The correct procedure for harvesting Swiss chard
Long-handled chard, as the name suggests, is harvested with the stalk. To do this, individual leaves with a stalk are broken off by hand just above the root. If as little as possible is left standing, there is no risk that the remains will start to rot. You can also cut off the individual leaves with a knife, but then they will no longer grow back, but will only grow again in spring. It is harvested from the outside in, the chard heart in the middle should be left intact.
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Then new leaves can form again and again and the chard can be harvested until autumn. If you only want to harvest the chard once, you can cut the entire chard plant just above the ground.
Chard leaf is harvested in the same way as long-handled chard. Either you harvest the leaves – depending on your needs – from the outside in or you cut all the leaves at once just above the ground. Mangold leaves will continue to grow, even if it has been cut off completely.
How is Swiss chard harvested?
- Stalked chard: harvest individual leaves with a stem from the outside in
- Break off or cut stems just above the roots
- Leave the chard heart intact
- Alternatively, cut off the entire chard with a sharp knife just above the ground
- Mangold leaves: also harvest from the outside in
- Or cut off all the leaves with a knife or scissors just above the ground
- The plant sprouts again and forms new leaves
Tip: If the leaves of the chard leaf are harvested particularly early, they can be used wonderfully as a baby leaf salad.
Store and preserve Swiss chard
Unfortunately, Swiss chard is very difficult to store. It is therefore advisable to only harvest as much Swiss chard at one time as you can actually use. Fresh Swiss chard can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to two days. To do this, wrap the chard leaves in a damp tea towel and place them in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. It is important that neither fruit nor tomatoes are stored in the same compartment, as they accelerate ripening.
How can Swiss chard be stored and preserved?
- Consume as fresh as possible
- Wrap in a damp kitchen towel to store
- Store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator
- Can be stored for a maximum of 1 – 2 days
Can you freeze Swiss chard?
Yes, it is possible to freeze Swiss chard. This is even a very good method of preserving leafy vegetables, for example, if all of the chard is harvested from the garden in autumn before the first frost and not everything can be freshly processed. Of course, you can also simply freeze the fresh Swiss chard raw. However, it is advisable to blanch the Swiss chard beforehand.
So it keeps its color and its aroma is also better. First, wash the chard and remove any withered areas. Leaves that are too large are cut into small pieces. Then the chard is placed in boiling water for a minute and then the leaves are placed in ice water. The blanched leaves are then dabbed with a kitchen towel and placed in freezer bags. These can then – if labeled, of course – be frozen and can be kept for up to a year.
Step-by-step instructions for freezing chard:
- Thoroughly wash the chard and chop if necessary
- Blanch in boiling water for a minute
- Remove from the boiling water and place in ice water
- Drain well
- Fill into freezer bags
- Frozen Swiss chard can be kept for up to 12 months