- "Silverbeet" redirects here. For the album by The Bats, see Silverbeet (album).
|Red chard growing at Slow Food Nation|
|Subspecies:||B. vulgaris subsp. cicla
(L.) W.D.J.Koch 
Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla), is a leafy green vegetable often used in Mediterranean cooking. The leaves can be green or reddish in color like Bibb Lettuce; chard stalks also vary in color. Chard has been bred to have highly nutritious leaves and is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available, making it a popular addition to healthy diets (like other green leafy vegetables). Chard has been around for centuries, but because of its similarity to beets it is difficult to determine the exact evolution of the different varieties of chard.
Chard and the other beets are chenopods, a group which is either its own family Chenopodiaceae or a subfamily within the Amaranthaceae. Although the leaves of chard are eaten, it is in the same species as beetroot (garden beet), which is grown primarily for its edible roots. Both are cultivated descendants of the sea beet, Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima, but they were selected for different characteristics.
Chard is also known by its many common names such as Swiss chard, silverbeet, perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, bright lights, seakale beet, and mangold. In South Africa, it is simply called spinach.
The word "Swiss" was used to distinguish chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalogue publishers. Chard is very popular among Mediterranean cooks. The first varieties have been traced back to Sicily.
Growth and harvesting
Chard is a biennial. Clusters of chard seeds are usually sown, in the Northern Hemisphere, between April and August, depending on the desired harvesting period. Chard can be harvested while the leaves are young and tender, or after maturity when they are larger and have slightly tougher stems. Harvesting is a continuous process, as most species of chard produce three or more crops. Raw chard is extremely perishable.
Cultivars of chard include green forms, such as Lucullus and Fordhook Giant, as well as red-ribbed forms such as Ruby Chard and Rhubarb Chard. The red-ribbed forms are very attractive in the garden, but as a rough general rule, the older green forms will tend to out-produce the colorful hybrids. Rainbow Chard is a mix of other colored varieties that is often mistaken for a variety unto itself.
Chard has shiny, green, ribbed leaves, with petioles that range from white to yellow to red, depending on the cultivar.
Chard is a spring harvest plant. In the Northern Hemisphere, chard is typically ready to harvest as early as April and lasts through May. Chard is one of the more hardy leafy greens, with a harvest season typically lasting longer than kale, spinach or baby greens. When day-time temperatures start to regularly hit 30 °C (86 °F), the harvest season is coming to an end.
Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. 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.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||84 kJ (20 kcal)|
|- Sugars||1.1 g|
|- Dietary fiber||2.1 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||306 μg (38%)|
|Vitamin A||6124 IU|
|- beta-carotene||3652 μg (34%)|
|- lutein and zeaxanthin||11015 μg|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.034 mg (3%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.086 mg (7%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.36 mg (2%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.163 mg (3%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.085 mg (7%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||9 μg (2%)|
|Choline||28.7 mg (6%)|
|Vitamin C||18 mg (22%)|
|Vitamin E||1.89 mg (13%)|
|Vitamin K||327.3 μg (312%)|
|Calcium||58 mg (6%)|
|Iron||2.26 mg (17%)|
|Magnesium||86 mg (24%)|
|Manganese||0.334 mg (16%)|
|Phosphorus||33 mg (5%)|
|Potassium||549 mg (12%)|
|Sodium||179 mg (12%)|
|Zinc||0.33 mg (3%)|
|Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Swiss chard is high in vitamins A, K and C, with a 175 g serving containing 214%, 716%, and 53%, respectively, of the recommended daily value. It is also rich in minerals, dietary fiber and protein.
All parts of the chard plant contain oxalic acid.
- This plant, treated as a subspecies of Beta vulgaris, was first published in Synopsis der Deutschen und Schweizer Flora 2: 720. 1846. Its basionym is B. vulgaris var. cicla L. "Name - Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla (L.) W.D.J.Koch". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved August 26, 2011. "Basionym: Beta vulgaris var. cicla L."
- The basionym of B. vulgaris subsp. cicla (B. vulgaris var. cicla L.) was originally described and published in Species Plantarum 1: 222. 1753. "Name - Beta vulgaris var. cicla L.". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved August 26, 2011. "Annotation: as "Cicla""
-  17 November 2011, The New York Times
-  World's Healthiest Foods, George Mateljan Foundation, 17 November 2011 World's Healthiest Foods
-  17 November 2011 Clifford A. Wright
- Characterization and biological activity of the main flavonoids from Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris subspecies cycla). Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology, 01-FEB-07
- Eat with the beet, Monty Don, 9 February 2003, The Guardian
- Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, [www.nda.agric.za/docs/Brochures/prodGuideSwissChar.pdf Production guidelines for Swiss chard]. South Africa. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- Dobbs, Liz (2012). "It's chard to beet". The Garden (Royal Horticultural Society) 137 (6): 54.
- "Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Chard". Nutritiondata.self.com. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
- "Worlds Healthiest Foods". Whfoods.com. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
|Look up chard in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Beta vulgaris.|