19 May 2013

Chard, tender and green

We got another half an inch (13 mm) of rainfall yesterday afternoon. It rained hard for hours on end. And it's supposed to rain again today and tomorrow. This is a holiday weekend, but people trying to take advantage of it by engaging in outdoor activities are out of luck. It's even been rainy down on the usually sunny Mediterranean coast.

Swiss chard from the garden cooked with schmaltz and chicken broth

Right now, rain and the soaking wet ground are preventing us from planting the summertime vegetable garden, but I did throw some hardy collard and kale seeds in an empty plot a couple of weeks ago. They have come up and we might get a good crop by mid-summer. Meanwhile, I harvested our crop of spring chard yesterday morning, before the rain started.

I planted this chard (called blettes or bettes in French) last August. Looking back at blog posts from October and November 2012, I see that we picked and cooked a lot of chard in the autumn, but the plants stayed in the ground. Our fairly mild (albeit long and gray) winter weather kept the chard going. Over the past couple of months, it has grown tall and green. Because of mild conditions, the ribs of the leaves are fine and tender. (Rain can be a good thing, I have to admit.)

Rhubarb, collard, and chard plants in the garden last September for harvest in fall, winter, and spring

I also had a row of collard greens growing over the winter, right next to the chard. I harvested those a month ago and we enjoyed eating them. Some, cooked, went into the freezer. Yesterday I quickly cooked the chard leaves, ribs and all. I seasoned them with some rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) and chicken broth, along with a couple of bay leaves and a good amount of black pepper. They'll be part of today's lunch.


  1. I got soaked to the skin yesterday at Les Ormes. I was hoping to plant out our veg seedlings today, but it looks like I'll have to do the tax instead.

  2. We are still harvesting our chard... only the ones I forgot to whip the covering off until a fortnight ago are showing signs of bolting.

    Next year, harvest the flower heads by themselves... then give them a quick turn round a pan in some walnut oil... so that they get hot... but not cooked through, you need the crunch... season with pepper and a little sea salt... eat as a starter.
    The flavour and texture are marvellous...

    I managed three rows of Charlotte yesterday... by starting at 7AM!!

    Only 10 rows of spuds to go....

  3. Chard looks terrific.
    We'll be in Paris with our granddaughter in three weeks. I hope for your sake and ours that the rain lets up.

  4. Chris, I hope so too. Predictions point that way.


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