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This morning we were busy in the kitchen preserving chard to eat all winter long. What a busy morning! I stopped a few times to take some pictures so I could share with you all how to preserve chard by blanching and freezing. Last year we grew a bumper crop of chard that we couldn’t keep up with eating fresh so I started preserving it for us to eat throughout the year. I loved being able to feed our family homegrown chard in some of our favorite recipes all year long!
Preserving chard is similar to preserving other fresh greens like beet greens, kale, and spinach. This week a friend down the road with an organic farm gifted us a trunk full of seconds produce. We were especially grateful for this since we didn’t get a chance to put in a big garden this summer since we just moved to our new homestead. In our treasure trove of produce from the farm, there were several large bunches of beautiful rainbow chard. We cooked some fresh and preserved the rest.
How to preserve chard by blanching and freezing
The method I use to preserve chard is the blanch and freeze method. The blanching process is quick and easy, the most time consuming part is chopping up the chard. But I would have to chop up the chard to use it fresh so this isn’t a big deal! It just takes a little longer when preserving chard since I’m chopping up a big pile of chard leaves and stems and not just one small bunch.
- Step 1: Wash the chard leaves and remove any discolored or damaged parts.
- Step 2: Remove the thick stem by slicing the leaf on either side of the stem. Stack the stems together. Stack the leaves together in another pile.
- Step 3: Chop the stems into small pieces, about 1/4″ thickness.
- Step 4: Slice the leaves into thin strips, about 1/2″ wide.
- Step 5: Place the chopped stems and sliced leaves together in a blanching pot (this is the one we have and love)
- Step 6: Blanch the chard in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove the inner pot filled with chard and run cool water over the chard. Then put the chard in a large bowl of ice water to completely cool.
- Step 7: Remove the cooled chard from the water and lay out on an absorbent kitchen towel to air dry for an hour or two. You could also use another kitchen towel to gently blot the chard to soak up moisture. I try to have as little moisture as possible to help prevent freezer burn.
- Step 8: Pack the chard into plastic bags or vacuum seal bags if you have a vacuum sealer. (We were gifted a vacuum sealer like this one a few years ago and I highly recommend it. It has made our food preservation so much easier and our foods last longer without getting freezer burnt.)
- Step 9: Freeze the bags of chard. Now you’re all done with preserving chard!
Tip: When packaging the preserved chard, I measure out two cups of blanched chard for each bag I plan to freeze. This is my best guestimate for approximately how much chard I need for our favorite recipes and to me what looks like an average bunch of chard once it is wilted from cooking.
How to use preserved frozen chard
If you’ve never preserved chard before, you might be wondering how to use it once it has been frozen and not fresh anymore. I use preserved chard in all my favorite chard recipes that call for fresh chard. The only difference is that I might not need to cook the chard as long since the cooking process has already been briefly started when blanching before the chard was frozen.
Our all time favorite chard recipes are Bacon Chard Quesadillas and Chard with Olives, Currants and Goat cheese. Both these recipes are in the cookbook I raved about in this post or you can also find the cookbook here.