Swiss chard is a delicious and different way of eating your greens. Swiss chard can be eaten raw in salads or boiled up like kale or spinach. It is also delicious sautéed with lots of herbs and garlic. It is definitely a versatile vegetable.
If you buy swiss chard in a packet or in bunches, you may regularly find yourself with too much to eat before it goes bad. Swiss chard is a big vegetable, so a couple of leaves will likely be enough for one meal.
Or maybe you grow it yourself and have had a wonderful abundance with this year’s harvest, but can’t get through it all and don’t want it to go to waste.
So, what can you do to stop your swiss chard from going bad? One option is to freeze it because yes, you can freeze swiss chard.
How to Freeze Swiss Chard
To make sure you preserve it in the best way, here’s our step by step guide to freezing swiss chard.
Rinse. You should wash all fruit and vegetables before you eat them.
As the texture of the chard will change once it has been frozen, it’s easiest to wash it raw.
Cut. Pat the swiss chard dry using some paper towels. You’re also going to need a knife for this step, so it’s safer to dry the chard to make it less slippery.
As the stems of swiss chard are much thicker than the leaves, it’s a good idea to chop the stems off. The stems can then be frozen and prepared separately.
Chop. The next step is to chop up the leaves. This will make storing them in the freezer much easier. It will also make prepping them for a meal easier too.
You likely don’t plan to eat the swiss chard leaves whole, so it’s best to chop them up now before they become soft and soggy in the freezer.
Blanche. Blanching is a very common technique for freezing vegetables. To blanch the swiss chard, bring a pot of water to boil on the hob. As the water heats up, fill a bowl with cold water and add some ice cubes, if you have any.
Place the chard in the water and leave to boil for only 2 minutes. This needs to be exact, so it’s best to use a timer for this. Once the timer has gone off, remove the chard and place it straight into the ice-cold water.
Leave the swiss chard in the iced water for another 2 minutes and then remove it. Place the chard on a plate with a few pieces of paper towel beneath it to absorb the water. Repeat this process with the stems but boil and ice for 3 minutes instead.
Store. Now it’s time to actually freeze the chard. Pick up handfuls of the chard and give them a good squeeze. Try to release as much water as possible and pack the leaves tightly together.
Then, transfer them to a freezable container, such as a freezer bag or a plastic storage tub. The leaves will be fine packed together, but make sure to leave some space inside the bag or tub.
How to Defrost Swiss Chard
Defrosting swiss chard is, of course, possible but it might not be the best option. Instead, it’s much better to boil the chard from frozen.
If you leave the chard to defrost, it will become soft, soggy, and difficult to use. Swiss chard is a similar vegetable to spinach and will react in a similar way when frozen and then defrosted. It will take on the water, shrink, and become limp and sometimes a bit slimy.
The best thing to do is to cook from frozen. You can boil it or sauté it with other vegetables and seasonings. You can even add it to a smoothie for a quick dose of greenery.
You can even do this when the chard is frozen. This will make the smoothie thicker and can have the same effect as ice but without watering it down.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing Swiss Chard
One thing to consider before freezing swiss chard is how you will be using it. Before you blanch it, chop up the leaves into the length and consistency that you prefer best.
If you plan to use the swiss chard for multiple dishes that will require it to be chopped in different ways, this isn’t a problem.
It’s a good idea to freeze food in portion sizes anyway, as this reduces waste. So it’s a good idea to chop the swiss chard leaves in several different styles and freeze them separately.
This means you won’t be about to create a dish, only to realize that the chard has been chopped too large or too small.
Another factor to consider is the blanching process. Blanching is a way of quickly boiling the vegetables and then cooling them in ice. This process stops the enzymes from working to break down the swiss chard and so it will be able to freeze better and last longer.
Blanching is a useful process but it isn’t 100% necessary. In fact, you can freeze swiss chard completely raw. Blanching is a bit of a process, so it can be skipped.
But it’s a great way of locking in all of the nutrients so when you eventually eat the chard, it’s just as good for you as before.
Overall, the answer is yes, you can freeze swiss chard. There are a few ways to do it and you will have the best result if you follow the tips and tricks above.
But, it won’t be the same once you defrost it. Defrosted swiss chard, whether frozen raw or blanched, will absorb a lot of water and become soggy like cooked spinach.
So, if you don’t want to cook it afterwards, it’s best to eat up that chard now!