This leafy green is in season and ready to bring nutritional goodness to your table.
What, Where & When?
Chard (aka Swiss chard) is a member of the beet family, but doesn’t produce an edible bulb. This green leafy has crinkly green leaves and silver stalks resembling celery ribs. Both the leaves and stalks are edible and the flavor is a cross between spinach and beets. The stems have an earthier beet flavor but are still delicious (even if you’re not a huge beet fan).
Common varieties include Ruby Chard, Rhubarb Chard, and Rainbow Chard. Ruby Chard has bright red stalks and deep red veins while Rhubarb Chard has dark green leaves with a reddish stalk and a stronger flavor. Rainbow Chard are other colorful chard varieties bunched together. The stalk colors vary from pink, orange, red, purple, white with red stripes, and ivory with pink stripes. Chard is in season during late summer into fall.
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- Basil on pizza, one of the many ways to use this versitle herb.
In parts of Italy, men sport a sprig of basil on their lapel if they’re looking for love. Although an interesting fashion statement, we’ll enjoy basil as part of our healthy eats instead.
The herb basil (Ocimum basilicum, Labiatae) is part of the mint family. It seems to have originated in India about 4,000 years ago. The ancient Greeks called it the “King of Herbs.” The herb gained popularity in England in the 16th century and was brought to the Americas by English explorers.
Basil can be found in different shapes, sizes, and colors — there are over 60 varieties. The most common are large-leaf Italian sweet, purple opal, Thai, lemon, tiny-leaf and African blue. Sweet Italian (a.k.a. sweet Genovese) is probably the one most recognized. The bright green leaves are rounded, have a pungent flavor that’s a cross between licorice and cloves.
The main producer in the U.S. is California, but basil is also grown commercially in India, Israel, Mexico, Yugoslavia, Italy and Morocco.
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