Can You Freeze Swiss Chard?
Can you freeze Swiss chard? Freezing any type of greens is tricky because they could wilt or turn brown after thawing. Since Swiss chard is only available during the summer season, it makes sense to buy this vegetable in bulk then freeze them for later use.
The good news is, Swiss chard is a hardy green, which makes it suitable for freezing. Of course, you have to prep the greens well prior to freezing to extend its original color and flavor. When prepping the Swiss chard for freezing, you can either blanch the greens or flash-freeze them.
Start by picking the greenest bunches of Swiss chard on your local supermarket (or garden!). Then, wash the Swiss chard in running water, making sure to remove any dirt or debris you find. After rinsing the Swiss chard clean, cut the base of the stem with a sharp knife. Separate the stems from the leaves as you cut because it’s best to freeze these separately. After cutting the Swiss chard to size, you can start prepping it for blanching or flash freezing.
Image used under Creative Commons from Dora_VA
Blanching the Swiss Chard for Freezing
Prepare a pot of water and bring it to a boil on high. Then, prepare a large bowl of ice water nearby. Place the Swiss chard in a colander then submerge the colander into the boiling water. Leave the green to blanch for 30 seconds or until they turn a bright green. Never cook the Swiss chard all the way through or the greens will turn to mush once they have been thawed. Give the blanched Swiss chard an ice bath to stop the cooking process. After blanching, you are ready to pack the Swiss chard for freezing.
To pack the Swiss chard for freezing, shake off the excess water and pat the greens dry with paper towel. Prepare two small resealable plastic bags, one for the Swiss chard stems and the other for the chopped leaves. Place the Swiss chard stems and leaves in their rightful container than squeeze out the excess air before sealing. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.
Image used under Creative Commons from F Delventhal
Flash Freezing the Swiss Chard for Freezing
To flash freeze the chopped Swiss chard, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Wait until the water is extremely cold or near-freezing. Submerge the Swiss chard into the ice water and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Prepare a wax paper-lined baking pan and drain the Swiss chard. Pat them dry with paper towel and separate the stems from the leaves. Lay the greens on the baking pan and place the Swiss chard in the freezer. Leave the greens to freeze for at least 1 hour. While waiting for the Swiss chard to freeze, prepare two resealable plastic bags, one for the stems and another for the leaves.
Take the baking pan out of the freezer and start packing the greens for long-term freezing. Place the Swiss chard stems and leaves in their rightful container than squeeze out the excess air before sealing. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.
When kept in the freezer, Swiss chard will keep for up to 6 months. It can last in the freezer for 12 months or a year when the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, we recommend consuming your supply in a month or less for optimal flavor and texture. Thawing the Swiss chard, or any type of frozen greens for that matter should be done slowly. Just take a pack of frozen Swiss chard out of the freezer and leave it to defrost overnight in the fridge.
If you are using the greens for stir-fry’s or stews, thawing is not needed at all. Just add the frozen Swiss chard directly into the dish you are cooking. The heat from the stove will thaw the greens while cooking them thoroughly at the same time.
Can you freeze Swiss chard? You might think that greens such as Swiss chard are hard to freeze but you’d be surprised how well this vegetable freezes. The key to successful freezing is proper prep. Make sure the greens are not cooked all the way through during blanching so they won’t turn mushy or slimy once they are defrosted! Just keep all these storage tips in mind so you can freeze and thaw Swiss chard properly.