Also referred to as Swiss Chard, this member of the beet family is grown for its crinkly green leaves and celery-like stalks. Chard, a cruciferus vegetable, is a good source of Vitamins A and C, as well as iron. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked (like in pizzoccheri) or sauteed; their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavor which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach.
The word "Swiss" was used to distinguish chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalog publishers. Chard is very popular among Mediterranean cooks. The first varieties have been traced back to Sicily.
Chard has been bred to have highly nutritious leaves at the expense of the root (which is not as nutritious as the leaves). Chard is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available, and is a valuable addition to a healthy diet (like other green leafy vegetables).
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