How to Freeze Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is a delicious leafy green vegetable from the beet family. It consists of colorful fibrous stems and large, dark green leaves, rich in nutrients and antioxidants. But sometimes, you buy a healthy vegetable at the grocery store, and then it wilts in the back of your fridge until you have to throw it away. To prevent food waste, freezing swiss chard is an excellent option. The process is pretty similar to freezing kale, so if you can do one, you can do the other! 

Swiss chard can be frozen, raw, or cooked. You can choose to blanch the swiss chard, or not and obtain great results. It can be frozen whole or chopped into any size you desire. 

How to Freeze Swiss Chard

The first step to freezing swiss chard is to decide if you want to freeze it cooked or raw. Both methods yield good results and store well in an airtight freezer bag or container for several months. Once ready to use, it will take mere minutes to cook. 

Freezing cooked swiss chard 

This method requires using a technique called “blanching”, where the vegetable is briefly boiled before being shocked in ice-cold water. This preserves the vibrant green color and makes cooking after freezing even faster. 

  1. Wash the swiss chard and remove any damaged parts of leaves or stems. 
  2. Remove the stems and set them aside (don’t throw them out!).
  3. Set a large pot of water to boil.
  4. Get a large bowl and fill it with ice water. 
  5. Once at a rolling boil, gently drop the swiss chard into the hot water, and wait 30-60 seconds until the color becomes a vibrant green, and the swiss chard floats to the surface. 
  6. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the swiss chard and place it in the ice-cold water. 
  7. Once the swiss chard has cooled, remove it from the ice water and gently squeeze with your hands to remove excess water. 
  8. On a clean cookie sheet, lay out the individual leaves with as minimal contact with each other as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect; this just prevents the veggies from sticking to each other during the freezing process. 
  9. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 1-2 hours until firm. 
  10. Remove from cookie sheet and place swiss chard into airtight containers or resealable freezer bags. 

If you would like to freeze the chard in smaller pieces, simply cut the chard to your preferred size before blanching, and continue the process as described. 

You can also separate the chard into smaller containers or bags to be used individually. In this case, freezing on a cookie sheet is not necessary; you can place the veggies directly in the container. 

If you don’t wish to freeze your swiss chard but want to store it properly, you can follow the blanching instructions and then, instead of freezing, place it in an airtight container in the fridge, and use it within 3 days. Do not use if the swiss chard develops a stinky smell since that could mean the vegetable is beginning to go rancid. 

Freezing raw swiss chard (without blanching)

If blanching sounds like too much work, this method is for you! You can also freeze the swiss chard raw. 

  1. Wash the swiss chard and remove any damaged parts of leaves or stems. 
  2. Remove the stems and set them aside. 
  3. Use a salad spinner to thoroughly dry the vegetable, or lay the leaves out on a clean kitchen towel to dry. 
  4. Keep the leaves whole or chop to your desired size. 
  5. Once completely dry, place the swiss chard in a resealable freezer bag. 

This method is excellent if you are in a pinch and don’t want to make a mess in your kitchen. 

How to store swiss chard 

How do you store and preserve swiss chard? It is crucial to minimize the amount of moisture your chard is stored in. After washing your chard, thoroughly dry it before storing it. Consider placing the chard in a resealable bag or a large container, with a paper towel at the bottom to absorb any extra moisture. Make sure to use it within 3-4 days of purchase since the tender green can go bad pretty quickly. 

How to use swiss chard stems

Many think that swiss chard stems are a waste by-product similar to kale stems. Unlike the woody, chewy stems from kale, swiss chard stems are tasty! They are sweet and taste slightly like beets, but much lighter. After washing them, chop off the dry end at the bottom, and then chop into small pieces. You can use them in stir-frys, soups, or incorporate them when you cook chard leaves. 

Final Thoughts

Swiss chard is a great vegetable to add to your diet. With a nutritional profile rich in phytonutrients, carotenoids, and flavonoids, this tasty green will go great in your favorite dishes. You can use it in all preparations where you would use kale or spinach, such as soups, pastas, and even salads! Find it in your local produce aisle!