Young and tender chard stems require little extra thought, but when the stalks turn thick, and perhaps stringy, it's usually best to trim them from the leaves. That doesn't mean you should toss them in the compost or garbage bin, though. Treat them as another vegetable and you have an ingredient for pickles, gratins, and more. • Refrigerator pickles: These pickled chard stems are spicy, sweet, acidic, and especially pretty when made with rainbow chard.
• Gratin: A little extra cooking can turn chard stems tender and sweet. For inspiration, see Sunset's Chard-stem Gratin with breadcrumbs and cheese.
• Dip: Swiss chard stalks and tahini are combined in a Middle Eastern dip reminiscent of baba ghanoush. We like this recipe from Taste of Beirut.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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