If you've found the information on the seed packet to be sadly lacking, this is the place to find out more, or add your comments!

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Postby PLUMPUDDING » Tue May 05, 2009 4:53 pm

I've grown a three different varieties of Swiss Chard last year and they have over-wintered well and made good new growth.

I decided to gather leaves from each kind and do a comparison on their various merits. They were steamed, the stems for 5 mins and the tops for 3 mins.

Vulcan - red stemmed - thinner stems and leaves - very strong "earthy" flavour. Stems lose some colour on cooking.

Bright Lights - different colour stems - some colours more chunky than others - mostly earthy tasting, paler stemmed ones not as strong as darker ones. Stems lose some colour on cooking.

Silver Leaf II - Johnsons seeds - white stem with pale pink tinge at base - nice amount of stem - substantial fleshy leaves and smooth enough not to trap dirt like some of the more blistered ones do - pleasant taste and texture. Cooks quickly and is nice and tender. Good with creamy sauce and nutmeg, and most other things like cheese or tomato as it doesn't overpower any other flavours. Of the three, this is my favourite.
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Postby Primrose » Tue May 05, 2009 5:41 pm

I agree with you that the red stemmed chard varieties do seem to have a very earthy flavour which isn't to everybody's taste. Last year I had one or two yellow stemmed varieties amongst the Bright Lights selection I grew and found them more pleasant than the red stemmed varieties. I also grew a very pale green blistered leafed variety whose name I can't remember, and although it wilted down fine in stir fries, I felt it looked a little too pale and anaemic. My favourite variety is Fordhook Giant (Unwins) which has large robust leaves and seems to be pretty winter hardy. After the heaviest frosts it always perks up quicklya gain and if it grows too prolifically, I simply remove the unwanted leaves and let them rot down on the soil as a form of mulch.
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Postby Johnboy » Fri May 08, 2009 9:05 am

Hi PPand P,
The multi coloured varieties were originally grow as ornamentals and to me this is where they truly belong. To me their eating qualities are abysmal.
There is nothing nicer than the original Swiss Chard. The Chards chopped into slim pieces cooked with Onion and a little Garlic and then put into a Cheese Sauce and then Grilled with grated cheese on the top until nicely browned and when that is nearly ready steam the tops lightly as an accompanying veg. Wonderful with braised chicken thighs and mashed potato!
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