Chard is an ancient cultivated plant and we use its stalky leaves as vegetables in many recipes. Its varieties are often differentiated into two groups: stalked or ribbed chard (flavescent) forms or the leafy spinach-like (cicla) forms.
The stalky varieties are dominated by broad, fleshy and sometimes ribbed stalks and are often prepared and cooked in a similar way to asparagus.
The leafy varieties have much finer, less prominent stalks and similar to spinach, mainly the leaves are used for cooking. Particularly the first delicate leaves appearing are delicious in salads and more mature plants can be steamed and served as greens on the side.
Swiss Chard is a biennial plant and the first leaves appearing in early spring are particularly tasty.
Particularly in its beautiful colour variations, chard is a highly attractive looking plant and can sometimes be found in flower beds to add decorum.