About silverbeet or chard

Silverbeet is a variety of Beta vulgaris and is closely related to beetroot. In France it is known as blettes, in Britain as chard and in the USA as Swiss chard. It is a versatile vegetable commonly used in Mediterranean cooking. Both the leaves and stalks can be used individually.

Silverbeet grows in many Australian vegetable gardens and is often called spinach. It is a handsome biennial plant and a handy one to have in your garden, as it is easy to grow, very nutritious and can be harvested almost continuously.

How to blanch silverbeet:

When I buy a big bunch of silverbeet at the markets, I usually wash and blanch it as soon as I bring it home. It is then conveniently ready to use and takes up a lot less room in the fridge. Blanching silverbeet also gets rid of some of the oxalic acid it contains.

Trim and discard the coarse stems and wash the silverbeet thoroughly in a couple of changes of water. Strip the leaves from the stalks and spines and keep them separate. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add salt. Drop the leaves and stems into the water and bring back to the boil. Cook the leaves for a couple of minutes and the stems a little longer. Lift them out and plunge into cold water to cool. Drain and keep in the fridge until needed. The blanched leaves can be used for the trouchia and for other recipes.


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