Chard or Silverbeet
Chard or Silverbeet

Chard is a leafy, green vegetable often used in Mediterranean cooking. The leaves can be green or reddish in colour and the stalks also vary in colour. 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). 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. 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 (also known as wild spinach). Clusters of chard seeds are usually sown, in Australia, between February and October, 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. Chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean but it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach following an analysis of the total nutrient-richness of the World's healthiest vegetables. Foods belonging to the chenopod family, including beets, chard, spinach, and quinoa, continue to show an increasing number of health benefits not readily available from other food families.

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