Did you ever consider that food makes you warm but also cool! Some foods have a warming effect, others have a cooling effect. You might be interested to read about Swiss chard, the Queen of Summer.
|The Queen of Summer
You might wonder why a vegetable gets a title. Why Queen and not King? Well, Swiss chard is definitely female! (it's called bette in French, bieta or costa in Italian: all feminine words). The Italian word "costa" also means rib - the stems of chards look like ribs. Didn't God create Eva from Adam's rib?
Just kidding! Read on to understand why Swiss chard is the Queen of Summer.
This picture shows the traditional white ribbed chard, variety Argentata, while below you can see a colored variety.
|Keep cool in the Summer!
Some food has a warming effect, while other foods have a cooling effect on your organism. For your well-being you might want to think about this fact before you order the next hamburger! Meat absolutely has a warming effect. If you suffer in the heat of Summer, don't eat meat! Eggs are neutral and provide plenty of proteins.
Many vegetables have a cooling effect (asparagus, lettuce, radish, cucumber, eggplant, tomato, zucchini, spinach, and Swiss chard).
|Ribs vs. leaves
When you harvest or purchase chard, you actually have two delicacies.
Ribs and leaves can be cooked together or separately. We recommend to treat them as two different ingredients for best results.
Separate the leaves from the ribs (stems). You can steam the leaves as you do with spinach. We wash the leaves and put them in a pot over medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes; The water that is left on the leaves after washing is enough for the steaming process. Set the steamed leaves aside and keep the liquid that is left in the pot (it is very rich in minerals).
Cut the stems in pieces, one inch-long, and sauté in olive oil and garlic for 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
You now have a staple that is a delicious addition to any meal. Swiss chard is most often used as a side dish, as an ingredient of soups, or try it with eggs in an omelette.
In these pictures you see the combination of white, red and yellow ribs, steamed leaves and orange tomato sauce to create an array of colors that remind us of the paintings by Paul Gaugain. This is a rich sauce that is best served with large pasta: Try rigatoni (if you cannot find rigatoni, mostaccioli or penne ... rigatoni are like mostaccioli, but larger). Buon appetito!
|Above you see ribs cut in 1-1/2"-long pieces that we have sauté; below is the picture of a wonderful pasta sauce.
|Preserving chard stems by Lactic Fermentation
Lactic Fermentation just sounds like a very difficult procedure - it is the same method used for preserving sauerkraut - but lacto-fermeted chard stems have a mild taste and are not acidic.
Cut the stems into pieces that fit your wide-mouth jars; pack the jar and fill with fresh water. The next day rinse the ribs and change the water. Repeat the rinsing and change of water for four consecutive days, before allowing the produce to ferment.
To help fermentation you can add a little salt (the original recepies has no salt). Also the Old World preservation method only requires a tight seal (no boiling!) - the FDA recommends to boil the cans to obtain a sterilized seal.
We are going to try the Old World method (without salt, nor cooking) and will report the results in a future newsletter.
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Looking forward to meet you at Harbor marketPlace of Kenosha this Saturday, or some day.
Your friends will be under the white tent,