Pickled Chard Stems

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I know, it seems rather over-economical and grandmotherly, doesn’t it? Even though my own grandma mostly baked – I don’t recall any pickles, unless I’ve blotted them from my memory in favour of butter tarts and marmalade cookies.

I’ve been home for 4 days, in the kitchen a lot, but without much to show for it.

I know I told you already that I was in Saskatchewan last week, but I don’t think I showed you this. Doesn’t it make you want to take a drive through the countryside? Perhaps in search of the ultimate peroghy? Seems like a reasonable research topic, don’t you think? I want to lie in this field.

Or maybe frolic through it.

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I came home to a wild garden – much of it beaten by hail or ravaged by whatever hungry things live back there. My cabbage was enormous, but had been eaten down to a skeleton – inside, all that was left were the ribs. Had it survived, it could have fed a village. This is not an optical illusion-it was almost big as W.

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The weeds did just fine, and escaped any damage. Some were as tall as me.

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The chard survived, but there’s a lot of it. August might become Chard Month.

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We reached into our first-planted potato condo and brought up a handful of thin-skinned baby spuds.

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Which got simmered, then tossed around in a hot cast iron skillet after a flat iron steak had its turn. Then the chard.

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We went to the food truck launch on Stephen Avenue on Thursday, along with several thousand other people. Which meant unfortunately there wasn’t any eating at said launch. (For us, anyway.)

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We went to the dog park to walk in the river, and brought s’mores from Crave.

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We went to check out Aviv’s new Sidewalk Citizen kitchen, which, by the way, is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC on Fridays and Saturdays. And if you go, you’ll find freshly baked things like these nearly two-foot-long breadsticks made from croissant dough, cheese and nigella seeds. Oh my.

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There. You’re caught up on the past four days, more or less. There were also plenty of eggs, fried in the cast iron skillet once the wilted chard was pushed aside. With sourdough toast.

And each time I sauteed a batch of chard in a skiff of canola oil with a dab of butter and a few sliced garlic cloves, I kept the stems to pickle. I had these in mind for a certain pickle party that crept past as I was frolicking in the above field, eating fresh lentils straight from their pods.

If you do a lot of pickling, you may not even need directions; just cut your chard stems into lengths slightly smaller than your jar and pour your choice of pickling liquid over them. Pickling is the new jamming, it seems. Not a bad thing – perhaps if I make less jam and more pickles, I won’t eat quite as much bread and butter.

Pickled Chard Stems

Adapted from Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony, by way of Local Kitchen.

1-2 bunches chard stems
1 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp pickling salt
1 Tbsp pickling spices

Trim the ends of the chard stems and slice into sticks the height of your jar minus 1/2-inch for head space. Slice larger stems in half, or in thirds, lengthwise, so that each is approximately the same size. Pack them into clean, hot jars.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegars, water, sugar, salt and spices and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour over the chard stems, leaving a half inch headspace. Wipe rim, seal and refrigerate for up to a month.

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August 14 2011 11:23 pm | preserves

9 Responses to “Pickled Chard Stems”

  1. tara on 15 Aug 2011 at 9:01 am #

    you are the smartest person I know. must try these!

  2. Kathy-Chronic In the Kitchen on 15 Aug 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Your chard looks amazing! sigh..I like it, but hubby’s not a fan.

  3. Lee Anne on 15 Aug 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Hi Julie,

    I’m not sure if you know this, but those huge ‘weeds’ look like Lambs Quarters to me. You’ve got to wash it really well because the leaves are velvety and hold dirt and sand. You can cook and dress the leaves just like you would spinach or swiss chard. They are delicious!

  4. Jen Sorenson on 15 Aug 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    I would have liked to see that cabbage as it was being eaten. Those are some mighty big and plentiful holes.

  5. Brian @ A Thought For Food on 15 Aug 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    I have NEVER thought to pickle the stems. What a great idea!

  6. Nishta on 16 Aug 2011 at 6:29 am #

    it’s like you read my mind–I’ve been saving chard stems in the fridge in order to pickle them! I shall do it tonight.

    forget the cabbage plant, can’t believe how big W is!

    our latest chard/greens obsession is wilting a ton of them down with green onion & garlic and loading them into a quiche with gruyere. SO GOOD.

    loving your summer adventures, xo

  7. Cheryl on 16 Aug 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    I love Aviv’s kitchen. Morgan and I are addicted to his danishes.
    PS I save my chard stems in the freezer and add them to soups.

  8. Yuri @IngredientsWeChoose on 17 Aug 2011 at 12:34 am #

    That’s so _interesting_! what do they taste like?

  9. M on 22 Aug 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    How long should the stems sit before they are edible?

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