30 March 2015

Chard leaves as spinach substitute

Despite my best efforts, using seeds and even transplants, I am not doing well at growing spinach down here.  While I still have starts that are alive, they aren't thriving to the extent we'd like.  Enter the Swiss chard.  So far, we have tried fresh chard leaves chopped up in omelettes and now a baked crustless quiche, and that is working out just nicely.  I have also dried some chard leaves to add into casseroles and broth soups and eggs later in the year after the chard bolts.  I definitely want seeds from these plants!

We haven't yet tried torn up fresh chard leaves for salad, nor have I tried using the stalks like celery in broth stock, but I have read (somewhere ...?) that they can be used as such.  I'd also like to test out the dried chard in crackers as well, along with the dried kale I have.

Saturday afternoon I stopped up at Lynn's and picked up another bucket load of compost.  Yesterday hubby unloaded it into a nice long narrow bed.  I think I'll transplant tomato starts there once it gets into the shade in an hour or so.

While starting to crumble up the dehydrated chard leaves, I had a "doh!" moment, then went to get one of two glass mortar-and-pestle sets Mom gave me back when I wanted to major in pharmacy.  Of course, that was before I took the "GPA Killer's" organic chemistry ... but the glass mortars and pestles are still here, and still quite usable.  One is big, and one is quite small, and the small one worked just perfect on the dried chard and kale leaves.

I ran the little electric dehydrator the past couple days, and it did a great job of keeping the chill out of the air inside the house.  I also opened up the two extra trays, so it was running six trays on the lowest setting, "Flowers & Herbs."  I am planning to get a lot more use out of it this year, although it will be outside when it gets hot.

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