Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Swizz Beetz featuring Olga


WARNING:  Please do not attempt to eat any of the vegetables on this website.  Although they look delicious, these are only pictures of the actual vegetables.  Please see your local farmer for the real thing.

Just when we thought we knew everything about harvesting, Captain Jack blew our minds with some ridiculous colors and some new techniques...
Today was a big harvest day as the farm got ready for their monthly market.  The Captain had us help out with the Swiss chard, which turned out to be one of the most interesting veggies we've been introduced to yet.  As you can see, this fancy beet brother is more of a leafy vegetable than the beetroot we were familiar with.
At first we had no idea this spinach-looking plant had so many surprises, but the Captain explained that Swiss chard is a member of the beet family and showed us what one of the roots looked like.  Although not yet mature, the root of Swiss chard can grow into a less pronounced beet. When you cut it open you can see a white/silver root.
Pretty sweet carrot hat too; who knew farmers could be so stylish?
We were told to harvest the chard right above the root so that a full set of stems remained intact.  Since these were being sold in bunches, we didn't want to have any excess stems without leaves.
Once they were cleaned up it was time to rinse them and bunch them, but wait what is this?  Among the beautiful chard one ugly duckling stands alone...Olga!!!!
Poor Olga, the unwanted weed.  What a monster turnip Olga was, but unfortunately if she was not removed she would spread her seed like wildfire.  Turnips can be unforgiving as weeds stealing tons of valuable nutrients in a bed.
It was almost time to go rinse and prepare the Swiss chard when Matt stumbled upon another great find, a mature beet from the root of the Swiss chard or as we like to call it a Swizz Beet.
Drop that beet
Unlike the spinach and mache we washed in past weeks, Swiss chard had a different technique.  We put about 1 pound of stems together
and fully submerged them in cold water.
Then instead of using a washing machine to dry the vegetables, you want to whip them back and forth building momentum to get off as much water as you can without cracking any leaves or stems.
Just look at these ruffled leaves and the the blood red veins running through them.  Almost human.
Once rinsed and dried we tied the bunches with this fancy rope
and stacked them in a bin to store overnight in the fridge.
From start to
At this point, there was only one thing left to do...eat that beet.
Soo goood

Swiss Chard, or Beta vulgaris, was once commonly known as Silver beet.  The stems can be a variety of colors including red, purple, orange, yellow, white or even multi-colored with stripes.  Another interesting note is that Swiss chard leaves do taste just like a beet only not as potent since it is not a plump root.  Swiss chard is rich in calcium, but just as we discussed with spinach, there is a high level of oxalic acid which means you need to lightly boil, steam, or saute it before eating in order to release the much loved calcium. 


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