How to Freeze Swiss Chard

swiss chard on a cutting board

The Spruce / Danielle Moore

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Swiss chard is not a particularly well-known leafy green in the United States, though it is very popular in the Mediterranean region. It can be eaten raw, sautéed, or otherwise prepared much as you would prepare spinach. In fact, Swiss chard actually goes by the name "spinach" in South Africa. It's relatively easy to grow in most parts of the United States, and it's easy to wind up with more than you can easily eat. Fortunately, it's easy to blanch and freeze both stems and leaves to enjoy later in the year.

About Swiss Chard

Like all dark green leafy greens, Swiss chard is low in calories and high in nutritional value. It's high in antioxidants and B vitamins and is a good source of vitamin K, omega-3 fats, and vitamin A.

The flavor of Swiss chard is spinach-like, but a little sweeter. It looks beautiful in the garden, too. especially the "Five Color Silverbeet," with orange, magenta, yellow and white stalks that look amazing. It's also quite easy to grow. If you just keep harvesting the outer stalks, and not the entire plant, new stalks will keep forming at the center of the plant. It doesn't bolt in summer's heat, which is a bonus for those who love leafy greens. It also withstands frost fairly well, which means you can often keep harvesting chard well into November.

Swiss chard is best fresh, but it can be frozen for up to a year if it's properly prepared. Here is how to preserve Swiss chard:

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Pot
  • Large bowl
  • Straw (optional)

Materials

  • Ice
  • Water
  • Freezer bags or other freezer-safe containers

Instructions

materials for freezing swiss chard

The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  1. Wash the Chard

    Wash the chard well.

    preparing to wash the swiss chard

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  2. Separate Stalks From Leaves

    Separate the stalks from the leaves. This makes it more convenient when you're cooking the chard later since the stalks take longer to cook than the leaves. Also, sometimes you'll only want to use one or the other in a recipe, not both.

    separating swiss chard stalks from leaves

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  3. Prepare Boiling and Ice Waters

    Bring a pot of water to a boil, and fill a bowl with ice water.

    preparing boiling water and ice bath

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  4. Place Swiss Chard in Boiling Water

    Put the Swiss chard in the pot of boiling water. If you have a large batch to boil, do it in sections to ensure that the greens retain their fresh flavor after freezing. A good ratio is 4 cups of packed greens to a gallon of boiling water. Blanch (boil) Swiss chard stalks for two minutes and the leaves for one minute.

    Tip

    After putting Swiss chard in the boiling water, watch for the water to begin to boil again. Then, start the timer for either one or two minutes (depending on if you are blanching leaves or stalks).

    placing chard in boiling water

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  5. Plunge Chard in Ice Water

    Place them in the ice water immediately after blanching to stop the cooking process.

    placing the chard in an ice bath

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  6. Drain Well

    Drain the Swiss chard well and shake off the excess water.

    draining swiss chard

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  7. Prepare for Freezer

    Put the stalks and leaves in separate freezer bags or other freezer-safe containers. Remove as much air from the bag as possible. You may want to use vacuum-sealed bags or, if those are unavailable, you can actually suck the air out of a ziplock bag. To do this, zip the top of the bag closed except for enough space to insert a straw. Then suck the air out as best as you can. Press the straw closed so it can be removed without letting more air inside. That will help maintain quality and prevent freezer burn.

    preparing to freeze swiss chard

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

  8. Freeze

    Freeze for six months to a year.

    swiss chard in the freezer

    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

This is an easy way to make sure you are able to use all of the delicious Swiss chard growing in your garden whenever you want. It freezes long enough so you can have it until the next growing season.

Article Sources
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  1. Freezing Leafy Greens for Later Use. UMN Extension Website