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This is a guide to the growing, harvesting and use of spinach and swiss chard.
Spinach is a cool season crop and belongs to the goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae), along with Swiss chard and beets. Spinach is low in calories. It is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and minerals, especially iron. After washing the leaves, cook them in a covered pan using only the water clinging to the leaves. After cooking, add salt and butter, vinegar, or mustard for added flavor. Spinach may be prepared in a souffle, creamed soup, or used raw in salads.
Swiss chard is a type of beet that is grown for its large leaf stalks and leaves. It produces no enlarged fleshy roots. It is low in calories and minerals and a good source of vitamins A and C. Chard leaves are best prepared like spinach or beet greens - cooking with only the water that clings to them following washing. A bit of garlic or nutmeg and butter enhances the flavor of chard leaves. Chard stems have a delicate flavor much like asparagus and are prepared in a similar way. Stems should be stripped of leaves, cut into conveniently sized pieces, and gently steamed in salted water until tender. Cooked and chilled stems are very good with salad dressing or mayonnaise. Leaves and stems may also be cooked together.