Have fresh chard stalks you just don’t know what to do with? Lacto-ferment those babies! It’s an easy and delicious way to up chard’s nutritional value and enjoy its goodness. Learn how to make your own lacto-fermented rainbow chard right now…
Spring is in the air.
There’s just something wonderful and magical about spring that gets me every year. After all the cold, even through the frost, dead things start coming to life. It’s beautiful and refreshing and hopeful.
And besides all those happy things, it also means more fresh food.
While I definitely love winter crops like citrus and the heartier veggies, I look forward to all the fresh greens, berries, and early crops of beans and peppers that spring up here in the south.
While I usually stick to my main green squeezes, romaine, spinach, and kale, this year I’ve been branching out to try new things. Mainly… chard.
Now, you might think that living in the south for half my life would mean I’m accustomed to eating chard. But you’d be wrong. I could count on one hand the times I’ve eaten it, and one finger the times I’ve cooked with it, until last month.
Fresh from the farm.
A couple months ago we started receiving regular boxes of fresh produce from a local farm group. The foodie in me has been going crazy trying all the new veggies that I never buy. One of them being chard.
When our second box came, nestled inside was a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard. My kids were all in awe of the colors, but a little nervous about what I might make with it. Not that I’ve ever given them any reason to fear eating new foods… ha.
So I set about pondering ways to eat this new and hearty green.
Ferment all the things.
Ever since coming to grips with the fact that my “healthy” foods were really not all that healthy (about 7 years ago), I began trying my hand at fermenting foods. I’d never really liked store-bought fermented anything, but for some reason homemade is 100% better in my mind!
So of course when I saw this recipe from Heart Beet Kitchen for pickled chard, I knew I had to give it a try. My kids are suckers for anything fermented, so I knew that if they didn’t like whatever I made with the leaves, at least they’d eat the stalks!
And I was right. This Lacto-Fermented Rainbow Chard was a sure winner with my little real-foodies! It’s light, with a slight kick from the garlic cloves, and super easy to make. Plus, like any lacto-fermented veggie, the vitamin and enzyme levels are preserved and increased, and it’s easier to digest!
So all that vitamin K, A, C, E, magnesium, copper, and more are readily available for your body to use!
Need more delicious fermented foods? Here are some of my favorites!
In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks!
Lacto-Fermented Rainbow Chard Stalks
Free from grain, gluten, eggs, dairy, and sugar.
- rainbow, or regular chard (I used about 10-12 stalks)
- 1/2 yellow onion*
- 4-6 cloves of garlic*
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt**
- pinch of black tea grounds (optional)
- filtered water**
Wash the chard and cut the stalks into pieces that are uniform in size and roughly 1 inch shorter that whatever jar you will ferment them in. (I use mason canning jars.) Pack the stalks into said jar.
Slice the onion and pack it, along with the cloves of garlic, into the jar alongside the chard.
Sprinkle with salt and black tea, if using. (Note, the tea won’t change the flavor of the finished product, it just helps keep it a little crispier.) (Also note, the tea is optional, the salt is NOT. Your chard will spoil without it!)
Pour water over everything until just covering the chard, leaving about 1 inch of headspace from the top of the jar.
Cover with a canning lid and set in a dark, cool place to ferment for about 3 days.
When fermented, transfer to fridge.
*The amount of onion and garlic is totally up to you. My kids love fermented onions, so I always add a little extra for them.
**The ratio of salt to water for lacto-fermenting is roughly 1 tablespoon salt per 1 quart water. Feel free to adjust the measurements based on how much chard you are fermenting.