ATTRIBUTES: Chard is a summer staple, with its rich, green leaves unfolding from edible stems in lively colors ranging from red to orange, yellow or pink. Quick to mature, chard seed can be sown up until 40 days before the first frost date, meaning there's probably still time to toss some seeds in among flowers or vegetables in your own container gardens. Resow every 10 days to keep the harvest coming.
SUPER POWERS: Chard is an excellent source of Vitamins A,C, K and the B-complex vitamins, and it's high in potassium. Recent findings show a compound in chard may help control blood sugar.
WEAKNESSES: Chard has a limited shelf life in the fridge, so it is best to use it within three or four days.
HOW TO USE IT: Chard can be eaten raw, or tossed into soups. For a quick summer side dish, try this recipe from Food Network Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. Chop one bunch of chard leaves into one-inch ribbons and stems into ½-inch pieces. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, add a pinch of red pepper flakes and two cloves of minced garlic. Add chard stems, and then a few minutes later, add leaves and a splash of white wine. Cook till leaves are wilted. Season with sugar, and salt to taste.