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DIY Kitchen: the chard cure

November 4, 2012

Is everyone okay with talking about bi-partisan leafy greens on election day? Okay, good.

When Rose was 7 months old and slurping up steamed spinach without even a particle of salt, I was like, oh yeah; this one’s gonna eat everything. And then she turned 2. The end.

I forgot that the kids were all up in each others’ business even way back then. After spending 2 hours flipping through old photos, I’m going to start a whole new blog about Col and Rose’s babyhood; 6512: the prequel!

The original “first food:” elk tenderloin! And the sweater that I didn’t take off for 2 years. I miss you, sweater.

Not sure what they’re doing, but omg: diapers, a boppy, a 2-year old in overalls, baby-proofed electric sockets, and a baby cradle all in one picture? This is too much for my creaky old ovaries. 

Oh, you were here for a recipe? Right. My friend Mikel (who is a nutritionist/mom/general badass) gave me the idea to steam, blend and freeze chard in small portions to unleash in kids’ meals in a transparent (“wow, you’re really enjoying those LEAFY GREENS, honey!”), yet unthreatening way (because my kids see little difference between a whole leaf of cooked kale and an enormous, slimy piece of seaweed that washed up on the beach and got slapped on their plate).

Creamy potato soup with non-threatening, very small pieces of chard.

I thought I would have to start small – inserting nano-particles of chard into crowd-pleasers like macaroni and cheese until the kids built up a respectable tolerance. But, for the first couple weeks no one said a word about receiving bowls of noodles laced with green specks. I think we were all so happily astonished. Me – that they’re eating chard. Them – about the luckiness of mac ‘n’cheese. And then just last week Rose requested, “can we have mac’n’cheese with the bits of lettuce in it please?”

Is she melancholy about her deteriorating bowl?

This is not the sexiest food you will preserve, in fact you may feel a little like Popeye’s mother, hunched over the blender with your heels and cigarette. It also feels like something Mrs Piggle Wiggle might engineer for veggie-phobic kids: a cure in the sense of a delivery system of vital nutrients to children. But, really, it’s not just for children, we could all use a wallop of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, calcium, beta-carotene, and lutein in our meals. Chard is a starred food in the book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.

The most important thing, the clincher really, is the very small pieces. They are so small and ubiquitous (but power-packed)—and really, chard is quite bland—as to become almost indistinguishable from the rest of the food.

Directions: The Chard Cure

Steam as much chard/leafy greens as you have until just wilted. Blend in food processor or blender (briefly; if you blend too long, it turns to mush). Freeze in small portions. Ice cube trays work well. Or 4 – 8 oz jars. Leafy greens thaw really easily and seamlessly into soups, pasta sauce, stir fries, and yes, mac’n’cheese.

We cut all our leafy greens last weekend: chard, beet greens, kale, spinach, broccoli leaves (!), and pac choi. 

Luckily, Col found a strange, curved, rusty old knife in the archery target area behind our house. Whew! Just in time to cut the family supper.

What is this thing? Col is so enamored with it, he filled a 5-gallon bucket with greens without complaint.

Blended broccoli leaves; no awards for sexiness here.

Chard in the ice cube tray; I do love the pure, concentrated greenness of this.

Small jars.

Little frozen cubes; this batch had a lot of red chard stem in them. Am I overstaying my semi-colon welcome? Grammarians? Chi-An?

Chard in the spaghetti sauce.

Okay. That’s it. Go vote, celebrate our country, love your neighbor, eat your greens, use reasonable caution and permissiveness with antique rusty knives, and be well.



Linking with Simple Lives Thursday and Homestead Barn Hop.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2012 8:08 am

    I love chard of all colors. It really does grow here in Switzerland quite a lot but is called Krautstiel or Mangold.

  2. Denise permalink
    November 6, 2012 8:10 am

    Wonderful post! Passing it on to my other back East friends who also want to live at 6512!

  3. LIsa B permalink
    November 6, 2012 8:22 am

    I love the idea of pureeing before freezing. We have just been blanching and freezing in years past. But, let’s be clear, Margaret would never touch the “non-threatening” food with those green bits. She will only eat veggies whole and steamed or whole and raw (spinach)… which is fine with me. Time to get dressed for the voting. :)

  4. Judy permalink
    November 6, 2012 8:24 am

    Yay for the blended up chard. I sometimes freeze things in a muffin tray. A greens “muffin” – or two – is perfect in lentil soup – also in corn bread.

  5. November 6, 2012 9:08 am

    I love the benediction. Especially the part about the knives.

  6. Hillary Ross permalink
    November 6, 2012 9:13 am

    that knife looks like the kind i used to pick grapes when i was young, getting extra money for school clothes.

  7. November 6, 2012 9:25 am

    So enjoyed your post ….. thanks!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 6, 2012 1:19 pm

      You’re so welcome :)

  8. November 6, 2012 10:02 am

    loved this! you could probably blend the greens all together too…. mixed green ice cubes. it’s genius!
    ps – I swear every time I visit this summer Rose looks older…. when I found you she still wore those sweet chubby cheeks of toddlerhood and now? all big girl-ness. I think my ovaries are creaking with you. xo~

  9. November 6, 2012 10:03 am

    Great idea… you’ve inspired me to tackle the rest of my garden greens today!

  10. hilary l permalink
    November 6, 2012 10:46 am

    Cole’s knife is a Sod knife! Great idea, I will be doing this with our chard! As always, I love your wit!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 6, 2012 5:24 pm

      Sod knife? For reals?

  11. November 6, 2012 1:00 pm

    Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! All oh, how I loved her! Did you like the way she dealt with children using natural consequences better than the way she dealt with children using magic drugs, or vice versa? ;-)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 7, 2012 4:07 pm

      I think the parents need the magic drugs; the kids can keep the natural consequences. xo

  12. November 6, 2012 4:42 pm

    THE BABIES – *what* has become of the BABIES?!?!? oh, right, they’re now awesome kid-folk. i *hear* you on the ovary twang, though, mama. the boppy gets me Every Time. and greens! yay! we just pulled our broccoli and have a bunch of broc leaves waiting to be sauteed w/garlic and onions and olive oil. YUM.

  13. November 6, 2012 4:59 pm

    I’m lucky in that both my kids are not greens averse, although #2 is only 17 months. She may change her mind yet. But I still think it’s a great idea to add leafy greens in as many meals as possible as you just can’t beat the nutrition they provide. My mom’s love for veggies influenced my own love for them; I’m hoping it will be passed down to my girls as well. *fingers crossed”

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 7, 2012 4:08 pm

      My mom’s love for veggies definitely influenced my own, too. Your kids may have the most sophisticated palates I know of. xo

  14. Chi-An permalink
    November 6, 2012 10:59 pm

    Okay, since you called me out specifically, I have to out myself: I am a semi-colon disciple. I adore semi-colons; I use them often and lovingly. You have my official grammarian blessing! Not that you really needed it. xoxo

    Hm, I will have to see if I can try the chopped chard cure with my kids. Although I also feel compelled to mention: my husband is so fanatical about *not* eating greens that he would actually go through and pick all those weensy bits of chard out of the mac ‘n’ cheese and scrape them on the edge of his bowl. 18 years of being with me has only gotten him to the point where he would do this quietly, without a fuss and without making nasty faces. That is, if he would even eat the mac ‘n’ cheese. Don’t get me started on his cheese issues. So although the chard cure may work for a lot of people, it won’t work for every soul on the planet. Just sayin’….

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 7, 2012 3:35 pm

      Okay! Thanks for the go ahead to use semi-colons with joy and abundance. Also, I thought about mentioning some veggie-phobic grown men that that I know, but maybe best to focus on reforming the population with the most pliable minds.

  15. November 7, 2012 6:33 am

    Great idea! My family is actually fine with chard. But we are southerners and they grew up with collards. So same difference, practically. But often we have more chard then we can eat in a week so I love the idea of freezing it in shredded i]pieces for later. Brilliant! Thanks!

  16. November 7, 2012 11:31 am

    I often feel self-conscious about using them, and then I read your your questions about them and realize I never even noticed a semi-colon once in your entire post until you brought attention to them. This tells me we should all be a little more reckless with our semi-colon usage! In fact, I think I have just been inspired to teach a lesson on them to my sixth-grade class today!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 7, 2012 3:38 pm

      This sort of recklessness my middle aged body can handle. xo

  17. November 7, 2012 12:14 pm

    I read Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook about hiding pureed vegetables in everyday food, like pureed pea pancakes or something. I don’t like the idea of not making it known that my kids are eating vegetables. My son loooves kale chips but won’t touch kale in any other form. And butternut squash mac n cheese is held in high regard here, even with big chunks of squash. I guess I’d rather they know what they are eating instead of tricking them into being healthy. And I have to work at finding how to best prepare things so that they are acceptable to a 4 year old, 1 year old, and 40 year old. We have an elk now, and that is a good thing! I tried the elk meat in crockpot with italian dressing idea. It was really tasty, thanks for the recipe!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      November 7, 2012 3:42 pm

      Oh good, glad the “Italian Elk” turned out well. I know someone who makes brownies with black beans and spinach and everything else in the world except butter, flour and sugar, and well, someday someone is going to serve her daughter a real brownie and she’s going to be like, holy hell!

  18. November 7, 2012 4:13 pm

    I love your blog. I’ve been living abroad for a year and when the culture shock gets a little too much I come looking around 6512 and Growing for a little remedy…..usually they tell you to go find a McDonald’s or a mall to make you feel more at home, but your site is way more interesting and way more like what I love about the USA! So thanks for writing and always having something good to read….and funny. Anyway, the knife….I use a knife like that for basket making. Specifically for cutting the end of the willow reeds before weaving them in. (and I love the recipes too!)

  19. November 7, 2012 9:43 pm

    i think my daughter was 5 before she realized that scrambled eggs weren’t actually green. chard, baby, chard…she protested for a while, but now she’s back on board with greens in her eggs.

    col’s rusty knife reminded me that i also found a rusty knife – while we were trick or treating!!!! i snatched it up from under the leaves and stuck it in my mushroom basket (i was a russian-sounding mushroom hunter. or something like that. with mushrooms.) and by jove, i think it’s still there!! off to check…

  20. November 8, 2012 8:44 am

    Visiting from Simple Lives link-up. We absolutely love chard here. Favorite way? on pizza. Thanks for the entertainment. Enjoyed your post.

  21. November 8, 2012 11:01 am

    Lordy that brings back memories!! I did the ice cube tray thing for so many veggies when our kids were babies!! (Many of the adults in my then conventional surroundings thought I was nuts!!) Thanks for the trip down memory lane! (now back to driving school.)

  22. Anonymous permalink
    November 8, 2012 12:34 pm

    Ahh, Rachel, I am still chuckling! My mouth dropped open when I saw the
    chard in the ice trays! Really, you deserve to have a blog!! May all of America
    turn over a new LEAF!!! With love ever, Sharon Ray

  23. Kerry permalink
    November 9, 2012 11:37 am

    Love this method! I need to start freezeing some greens.
    The Knife is a hook knife, my husband uses them for installing carpet. You cut the carpet with the sharp inside edge and tuck it with the dull outside edge. Sadly I don’t think that one is an antique though ;) looks like the 3 he’s got in his tool box right now.

  24. Christal permalink
    September 2, 2014 1:10 am

    We’ve used knives like that to cut linoleum and tar paper for roofing. Here’s a link to a non-rusty version.


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