The green leaves and colorful stems of rainbow chard plants add flare to any stir-fry, but did you know the entire stalk of each leaf is edible? That’s right, you don’t have to waste all of the beautiful chard stems after all!
If you’ve ever cooked with rainbow chard before, you're probably familiar that the most common issue is the cooking time-gap between the tough stems and tender green leaves. By adding all of the chard at once to a hot dish, by the time the stems are done cooking, the leaves are already mush. Yikes.
Next time you find yourself with a handful of rainbow chard in your garden, chop up the greens and save the stalks-- these are prime candidates for pickling!
With this quick-pickling recipe below, cut down on kitchen waste and make meals more nutrient-dense by using the leaves separately from the tough stems. These adorable rainbow jars will be sitting in your fridge, just waiting to be snacked on.
Quick-Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems
- 4-6 rainbow chard leaves of different colors (use less if stems are longer, more if stems are shorter)
- 1 cup white vinegar (use any vinegar here, white preserves chard color best)
- 1 cup water
- 1 T sugar
- 1 T salt
- Any other aromatics: herbs, slice of jalapeño, black peppercorns, garlic cloves
- Jam jar with lid
- Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan on the stovetop on medium-heat to dissolve the salt and sugar.
- Take a jam jar, and measure the inside height with one of the rainbow chard stems, up to 1/2” from the top.
- Cut off each stem of the chard leaves, measure up against the first, and cut into segments.
- Pack the trimmed stalks in your jar, lining up to fill the container.
- Tuck in other aromatics, such as some fragrant herbs, a slice of jalapeño, garlic or black peppercorns to add some extra flavors.
- Pour hot (not boiling) brine over the contents of the jar, leaving 1/2” of headspace at the top.
- Place the lid on the jar and gently knock on a hard surface to allow air bubbles to escape.
- Let cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge to enjoy in 48 hours! The flavors will need time to meld, so be sure to wait at least 2 days before digging in.
- Quick-pickles will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator (if the contents last that long).
Rainbow Chard Stem-Quick Pickles are a delicious, healthy snack to have around in a pinch. Try preparing these right before a weekend vacation, and have something fun to come home to!