Too Much Chard! Need a Plan B -- Help!

plllog

I mentioned in another thread that somehow my produce order got changed to TEN bunches of rainbow chard, and the leaves are also gigantic. The neighbors don't want any. Edie wants some but lives thousands of miles away and sharing just isn't practical. I was going to make meatballs. I can try making stuffed cabbage out of a lot of the chard, and search for freezer space for them. Even at two per leaf (it's that big!) I might be able to use a lot of it up. If I could breathe. The air is supposed to be awful from the fires for at least another week.


Did I mention? The chard is beautiful. I had to leave it in the box over night, with a cool pack. I suppose it would fit in my big produce drawer...if there were nothing else in there. It's full. The fridges are full. When I thought I'd ordered 2 bunches, I was expecting to use them, not store them. ACKKK!


@ediej1209 AL Zn 7 mentioned freezing chard. I didn't want to make a tangent in an active thread, so, please, Edie, tell me more! I was planning on making popsicles from some of it, but that's like four leaves. :) How do you freeze chard?


I should say...no one in the family likes "greens" as in chard sauteed with fatty meat, and "beans and greens" didn't go over well (and I'm not supposed to eat beans anymore). I will put it in soups and stews, omelettes and quiches, so I can imagine using frozen that way.


Maybe I should just run it through the blender and freeze pre-blendered chard for popsicles? Will it be okay refrozen?


Anyone else have ideas of things to do with chard, fast, and not taking a lot of physical work?

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annie1992

Well, you could spread out the leaves and dry them in your oven, then make powder from the leaves. The chef across the street at the B&B did 3 BUSHELS of kale like that last year, LOL, she puts the powder in green smoothies, in meatloaf and meatballs and adds it to dips. That's a LOT of chard if you don't like "traditional" greens.

Annie

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

The one year I got a half-way decent harvest I took the rib out of each leaf most of the way up, sliced the leaves across the grain about 1-1/2" slices then briefly blanched it, shocked in ice water, drained and packed into quart freezer bags. But I didn't have nearly that much as you have to deal with.

Annie's suggestion for drying and powdering would make storage a whole lot easier. And you could stir some in to any kind of popsicle that sounds good. I'm thinking blueberry or pear?

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plllog

Thanks, Edie! I can do that without killing myself, and it might be nice to have frozen chard. I bet I could substitute it for frozen spinach in a green kugel, too. It's worth trying, at least on a couple of bunches.

Annie, that's a great notion, except that I have a lot of green powder already that I forget to use. :) You gave me the idea to try making chard chips the way I make kale chips. It doesn't work with dino kale, but even though it's big, I think the chard may be thin enough.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

plllog, I sure enjoyed having the chard that winter. I made a lot of different soups and even whirled some in the food processor to "sneak" into lasagna and spaghetti sauces. Before you freeze all of it though - if you like Stuffed Grape Leaves, I bet some lightly steamed chard leaves would be good for that also.

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plllog

LOL! Edie, I'm sure you're right, but after the "cabbage rolls" I'm not sure I'm going to have any oomph left for little rice rolls. :) We get chard year round, possibly with a few weeks out between seasons.

Everything is orange from the smoke in the air. Things should be better after the sun goes down.

So, I've decided to make green refrigerator soup. I have a lot of lovely beet greens, carrot tops, some green curly kale that's a bit past it as well as some other greens. I'll throw in some carrots and a couple of golden beets, some celery that's heading toward dead, etc. Other roots. Try to make it taste good. :) I can put the chard stems in, and maybe add whatever I can't use up or freeze.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

I love "must-go" soups!!

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nancyjane_gardener

I also cut into ribbons, blanch freeze on a cookie sheet with parchment paper . I add to soups stews etc. through out the year.

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olychick

Make a batch of spanikopita. I always use a mix of spinach and chard in mine. You can freeze leftovers, but the filo will not crisp up again...still tastes great.

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shambo

One of our close family friends used to use chard in spanakopita instead of spinach. With all that feta and green onions, it tasted almost exactly the same. Dealing with fillo can be a pain, but I’ve baked the filling ingredients all by themselves for a crustless version when I’m in a hurry or lazy but want the taste.

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plllog

It's the same as spinach bourekes, and a great idea! Thanks Olychick and Shambo!

Olychick, can we help you with the freezing? Mine crisp up fine! In fact, that's they way we always do it. Make the bourekes a few weeks ahead of the big crowd and bake/freeze in foil pans that fit in a toaster oven, in case the main ovens are busy. The bourekes are Armenian Jewish style, but not much different. For a triangle (which I think has a slightly different name in Greek, probably in a post of Shambo's), we use two strips of filo in a stack, brushed liberally with sesame oil, then rolled in the oil before baking. Both the initial bake and the reheat from partially thawed, in a very accurate oven, are 11 minutes at 350° F. Even the TJ's coiled one, crisps up.

I have filo in the freezer. Making the soup today cleared out enough space I might be able to refrigerate some chard until it's thawed. I think I have some feta, too. This is an excellent notion, if I can keep my energy level up.

I didn't get the cabbage rolls done. I didn't have anywhere to chill them. So I made the soup. It can simmer all night. The carrot tops died since yesterday. The soup has a lot of beet greens, mostly gold. The red ones don't keep as well.. The old chard that got kind of frozen in an overstuffed fridge and would have gone into stew, but the stew meat wandered off (head scratcher). A large celery heart. Three orange carrots. Two apples, one red, one green, and a small bartlett pear which had fridge freeze damage. A bunch of small green kale, and a normal sized bunch of red kale. Half a bottle of beer. Half a red onion. Most of a red bell pepper. A HUGE King Richard leek, which was a 'bunch" all to itself and already not crisp from the Friday delivery. Maybe that's all. It took a little time to get started because I turned on the wrong element on the induction. Tired. But an hour in, it actually tastes good. I hope it continues like that.


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Olychick

Plllog I make a 9x13 pan, not individual servings. I've never had either top or bottom crust crisp up after freezing, but I usually have it for a quick lunch and likely to warm it in the microwave. I know if I heated it in the oven, it would work better to crisp it up, but I won't heat the oven for one piece of spanikopita.

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Find a flock of chickens to feed the chard to.

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plllog

Oh. Olychick, you're right. You can't warm it in the microwave and have it be crisp. Period. The inside steams and softens the filo and sogs it. Also, I think it has to be traditionally flat, rather than as deep as a regular pan to stay crisp too, so the proportion of wet interior to crisp dough doesn't overwhelm. I let my frozen warm up a little just to take the edge off, then put it in the oven frozen so the damp of thawing goes to steam rather than sog. Have you considered making it with a pastry crust for freezing? I think that would survive zapping a portion for lunch better.

LoneJack, even if the chickens would like it, I paid for all that chard, and it cost a lot more than chicken feed! And the gas to take it to a place where they have a whole flock would cost more than the chard. :)

So, by sacrificing the kale to the soup, and stuffing things all around the fridge, plus, finding a couple more things that could go, I was able to empty my big produce drawer. I think the chard will fit. I hope there's room for the spinach--did I tell you they sent an extra bunch of spinach (above the order)? I sent them a note to charge me. Anyway, it's lovely spinach, and it's looking put out by all the fuss over the chard.

The overnight simmer was good for the soup. It went through a stage last night of not tasting great, but after a good long boil this morning it's good again. This is going to be more like a stock. It's clear and light. I hope I haven't boiled out all the vitamins. :) I know some will be halved, at least, but I hope enough remain to have some nutritional value, not just tasty water. :)

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

I like to chop it up and add it to chicken and rice. Love those juicy stems!

It really cooks down a lot, you could just saute a big batch with garlic and butter/olive oil and freeze some to add to things later - like a pizza topping, or lasagna...

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plllog

Thanks, Carol! I know it cooks down, but these are HUGE! Think Sleeper. It does sound good with chicken and rice.

The air is a lot better today, but the cumulative effects are making the symptoms worse. I gave up on the idea of making the stuffed cabbage chard today. I just can't. Since I'm not feeding them to my mother tonight (we're getting delivery), I feel no compunction of going back to Plan A and bringing three bunches. If no one takes some home, the weekday cooks can just deal with it. :) And one of the kids is coming over on Tuesday, and I can foist a couple of bunches on her.

I love the spanakopita idea, but I don't have time to wait for the filo to defrost, but I could make some kind of pie. I will make some popsicles (the reason I wanted chard to start with), and if I have the oomph will make chard cabbage rolls too. Whatever is left can be frozen. That's the plan, at least. :)

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shambo

I’ve also baked the spanakopita filling in a store-bought pie crust. Several weeks ago I just baked the filling, cut up pieces, and froze them. I’ve had no trouble with reheating them — thawed in the microwave and then crisped a bit in the toaster oven. Makes a good snack or meal with some sides.

Olychick, I also make pans of pita. I only make triangles (spanakopitakia) if I’m trying to impress company. But I don’t really care much about impressing any more, so I stick with family style pan pita.

We would eat too much at a time to ever worry about freezing. We would eat at least four pieces each for lunch and/or dinner. And then sneak some during the day for a snack. But I do reheat pieces in my toaster oven, turning them over so both sides are crisped up again.

I love spanakopita any way it’s served. Cold, right from the fridge; room temperature; warmed in the toaster oven. It doesn’t really matter.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

Saw a recipe for phyllo spinach & feta pies in muffin tins I'd like to try. I think it was @ MarthaStewart.com...

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Marilyn_Sue

I dehydrated my extra kale over night to use in soups and I would think you could do the same with Swiss Chard. I will have to go out and check my crop of it and see if I might have enough to dry.

Sue

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Lynda (Zn9b/23 - Central CA Coast)

We grow chard year round, and always have too much. I throw some in the rice maker with the rice, which makes a nice side. We also eat as a vegetable side by sauteing with olive oil and garlic. It is also great in soups and in quiche.

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plllog

Thanks to all of you! I managed to give away a lot of it, and the extra spinach too, which is a good thing since I ran out of time for new projects.

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