Food Waste. And can I make a smoothie with chard?

by Kristen on June 6, 2014 · 36 comments

in Food Waste Friday

Every week, I post a picture of the food that has gone bad over the last seven days. Why do I do this? Because in March of 2008, I finally got fed up with the amount of food I was wasting, and I thought that showing my waste to other people would motivate me to use up my food instead of wasting it. Because this often embarrassing practice was so helpful for me, I invited other bloggers to join me in posting their food waste photos, and Food Waste Friday was born.

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Two things before we get to food waste:

1. I updated my post about Elf ballet flats with a photo of the soles. They’ve got nice textured soles, which will make them much better for slippery surfaces than most ballet flats.

2. Yesterday afternoon I published a post about a cool way to recycle old mobile devices (you can even get cash for yours if it’s on the newer side!) and I’m giving away a $50 Amazon gift card on that post. It’s an electronic Amazon card, so you could get it in time to do some Father’s Day shopping. ;)

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Zee Food Waste

Here’s what I composted this week:

fg food waste

I might have been able to rehydrate those mushrooms, but they also smelled a little funky, so I opted to compost them.

The avocado? Well, it was one of those that was a little far gone when I cut it open, so I threw it into the fridge to add to a smoothie later.

But it fell out of the fridge later when someone was getting something out, and then when it got put back, it wasn’t stored properly, so it dried out and turned black and was just generally too unappealing to eat.

Compost it is.

Then last night I discovered that, due to some poor fridge organization, a bag of thawing beef had leaked some juices onto the last of a bag of grapes. And since we eat grapes raw, I didn’t think that was really very safe.

Produce Box Update

(In case you missed this before, we’ve signed up for an every-other-week delivery of a CSA-style box.)

I got my second produce delivery box this week, and I’m pleased to say that we had very nearly used up the entire contents of box #1 at that point. Phew.

The good thing about getting a box is that it makes us eat more vegetables than we would otherwise.  For instance, last night at dinner I might have been tempted to just serve watermelon as a side dish, but because we had the produce box, I also steamed a pot of broccoli.

One of the things in our box this week was red chard, which I’d never eaten before. We’re not big on cooked greens, so I’ve been making salads with it. I’m also wondering if I could throw it into a smoothie. Yay? Nay?  Advise me!

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle June 6, 2014 at 7:48 am

I make smoothies with swiss chard often. I treat it the same as spinach. Works great in smoothies.

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2 Kristen June 6, 2014 at 7:50 am

Oh, good! I have such a huge bunch of it, I was worried we wouldn’t get through it all by eating salads.

Thank you!

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3 WilliamB June 6, 2014 at 9:32 pm

I put mine in soup. Beans and chard are a natural pairing, especially for soup (or pureed to make dip) is great stuff. Especially with garlic.

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4 Stacy June 9, 2014 at 5:56 pm

I also throw greens such as chard, beet greens, kale, etc in my smoothies. They are usually in my CSA share as well and I have to get creative as I’m the only one in the house who will eat these kinds of greens. You really can’t tell the difference in greens. All yummy!

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5 kristin @ going country June 6, 2014 at 8:23 am

It would probably be okay, but since chard is actually related to beets, not spinach, I would taste a bit raw first and see if it has a more distinct beet flavor. Some varieties (and I’ve found this true with the colored ones, particularly) tend to be more strongly flavored than others. You may want to use slightly less chard than you would spinach, lest the beet flavor come through in the smoothie too much.

Unless you’re into beet-flavored smoothies, that is. Could be.

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6 Jo@simplybeingmum June 6, 2014 at 8:31 am

Going to google ‘chard’ once I’ve finished typing up my ‘No Waste tastes Great’ post!

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7 Meeghan June 6, 2014 at 8:33 am

Chard stems are also edible. You can sautee them in stir frys.

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8 Stephanie June 6, 2014 at 8:59 am

yes you absolutely can – it’s very much like spinach.
I also used chard and also collard greens (which I got A LOT of) from last year’s CSA to make veggie wraps – I used the greens in place of tortillas. Pretty delicious for lunch.

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9 Janine June 6, 2014 at 9:12 am

We did a CSA last year and I tried just about every green we got in smoothies! We got rainbow chard and I found that I needed something like pineapple to help “mask” some of the “earthy” flavor for my kids. Good luck :).

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10 Molly F.C. June 6, 2014 at 9:14 am

Have never used chard in a smoothie but I bet that it works. I like making quiches with chard. A favorite has mushrooms, Gruyere cheese & chard. Ingredients are sauteed, mixed with eggy custard and baked. If not to be eaten right away I wrap well & freeze. Thaws nicely for a meal at another time.

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11 Cindy June 6, 2014 at 9:28 am

You can absolutely add chard to a smoothie. It’s delicious and less strong than kale. Also, you can make it into pesto (just use it instead of basil, and I use walnuts instead of pine nuts). And it’s great julienned as a simple salad. And it’s a good substitute for spinach in minestrone. AND the raw stalks can be used for ants-on-a-log. I always grow chard out from as sort of an edible decorative border, so I’m FULL of chard ideas. :)

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12 Wendi June 6, 2014 at 9:33 am

I sure know what I would make with swiss chard. PIZZA! I discovered this recipe last year after getting chard in our CSA box. The whole family loved it.
http://www.farmgirlfare.com/2009/01/swiss-chard-and-artichoke-white-pizza.html

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13 David June 6, 2014 at 9:49 am

I love Swiss Chard. Cooked is fine, the small leaves are fine in a salad too. And I would say that if you are making a veg smoothie I would put Chard in. Even if you are doubtful you could at least put SOME in – who would know? :)

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14 Suz June 6, 2014 at 9:53 am

Ah yes, the chard.. We remember it well from our CSA – one way we loved it was in lasagna; no one really noticed that it wasn’t spinach. Will be interested to hear if it works for you in smoothies!

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15 David June 6, 2014 at 9:56 am

Please tell me about the CSA how to contact them, which one you use etc.
Thank you,
Dave.

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16 Andrea June 6, 2014 at 10:57 am

Yes you can put chard in your smoothies! I like to put in kale too with pears, peaches or mangos. It is a great green smoothie option. Have fun and experiment with your greens (:

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17 Suzanne June 6, 2014 at 11:00 am

Use chard like you would spinach. Works great in quiches or frittatas, lasagna/stuffed shells, chopped and mixed with rice and cheese (my favorite). Plenty more options than salad- enjoy!

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18 Dawn McKenna June 6, 2014 at 11:25 am

Hi Kristen….I so love this series on food waste – very convicting!

I’ve written a few smoothie recipe books, and one thing I learned was that Swiss chard does make a wonderful addition to a smoothie (tons of antioxidants and a nice change of flavor) but it can really benefit from the addition of a milder or sweeter ingredient, like half an apple or cucumber.

By the way, if your family doesn’t really enjoy cooked greens, try tossing them in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting them in the oven in a single layer at about 250-degrees. Turn once during cooking and roast until they’re completely dry and crispy. My kids and I adore kale chips, but we’ve done this with all kinds of greens. They’re addicting and you can add chili powder, curry powder, garlic powder and so on to vary the flavor. Great way to use up greens that are getting ready to commit suicide in the fridge. :)

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19 Ashley June 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Hi Kristen! When do we get a vacation post!! I lived in Orlando for 5 years so I am very excited to read about all the sites you saw : )

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20 Jenifer A. June 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Chard is tasty sautéed with shallots. Use the stems (slice and sautée with sliced shallots) as well as the leafy part. Here’s one source of inspiration: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/swiss-chard-and-shallots

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21 Mikaela June 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I’ve put Swiss chard in my smoothies. I like it better than kale because the flavor isn’t as noticeable to me. I haven’t tried spinach in my smoothies yet, so I can’t compare it to spinach.

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22 Skirnir Hamilton June 6, 2014 at 4:19 pm

I will second the commenter who said Chard is great in quiches/frittatas, etc. That is what we did with some of our chard, as we also don’t tend to like cooked greens.

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23 Laura June 6, 2014 at 5:23 pm
24 Kimberly June 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Here’s what we do with our chard from the CSA Half-Share: Our group has an Exchange table, where we can put things we don’t want (like chard) and take something we DO want (like extra asparagus this week). :-)

There are some wonderful ideas here from readers, though, which we’d like to try.

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25 Manda June 6, 2014 at 5:57 pm

I have not used chard in a smoothie BUT I have made chips with it like Kale chips in my oven before. Also a few times I stuck it in my blender and poured into containers and stuck them in my fridge and next time I needed a little extra something for soups I plop some in. One other thing I have done with chard was chop it up fine and mix it in when I am making falafels, black bean burgers, meat loaf or crab cakes. Its extra nutrition and the kids can’t tell.
http://drinkingfrommasonjars.blogspot.com

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26 Ester June 6, 2014 at 9:11 pm

We make a chard pie – briefly cook chard with onion sauteed in a bit of butter, then bake with an egg or two stirred on top as well as cheddar cheese (or feta) for about 30 minutes… a favorite all around! from One United Harvest, a CSA cookbook

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27 WilliamB June 6, 2014 at 9:37 pm

1. Salsa. Just left it uneaten to too long.

2. Sweet pepper. Left on my desk overnight; it did not survive the experience unscathed.

3. 1 gal milk, maybe. Neither container tasted right, both marked June 23. I testing the fridge temp now – I may not be responsible for the waste, even though there’s no getting around the inedible milk.

Possible 4: melon. Left in fridge at work over a 3 day weekend. I hope it survives because it was *amazingly* sweet.

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28 WilliamB June 9, 2014 at 7:43 am

Re #3: fridge is definitely wonky. Hoping it’s the fan rather than something more expensive.

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29 MelissaZ June 9, 2014 at 11:24 am

Sometimes cleaning around the coils helps!

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30 Heather @ My Overflowing Cup June 7, 2014 at 12:33 am

Perhaps I am justifying a little here, but at least when we “waste” food it is fed to dogs, chickens, or the compost pile rather than the trash can. Am I right? I think it’s great that you are willing to share this info in order to improve. Thanks!

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31 Vicki June 7, 2014 at 1:23 am

Yes you could put chard in a smoothie. I would throw it in with banana. How about red chard roll ups or popping it into spaghetti sauce?

My week was so so and I had one of those fridges which looked a bit worse than I think it was.

My exploits are chronicled here at:
http://www.veeseasyvegan.com/tofu-noodle-soup-gratitude-no-waste-friday-contest-winner-plus-more/:

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32 Carol June 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Chard Cheese Pie in Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook. Sub some ricotta if it calls for cottage cheese.

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33 NMPatricia June 9, 2014 at 8:21 am

When we started getting a CSA box, we had the exact same reactions. Oh, I need to eat more vegetables. And now, after a while, it is becoming far more normal to do it. The chard – cut it up, season it to your liking (and I am still figuring it out), and roast it. Takes only a few minutes and I like to eat it for snacks. Some people liken it to “chips” although I certainly haven’t perfected that part.

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34 Gerard June 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm

What works for me is a spiced puree (like Indian Saag): sweat some chopped onion family and maybe ginger in whatever fat/grease you have, add a bunch of chopped chard (or other) greens and stems and cook till soft. Then add garam masala to taste and whiz with an immersion blender (or put in a blender). Maybe add cooked chick peas, cubed potato, or paneer if you like. Serve over rice or with flatbreads. Kinda like a warm smoothie! :-)

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35 Julia June 16, 2014 at 7:49 am

Here is a yummy thing to do with chard. Tear up the chard and cut up some potatoes with the skin on. Dump everything into a pot of boiling water. Cook till potatoes are soft. Use a hand masher and smash it all up with butter and salt and pepper to taste. Yum!!! This is one if my families favorite side dishes.

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36 Robin June 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm

My daughter uses chard to bulk up her pesto. It’s actually delicious. We grow a lot of it in our garden…

My favorite way to eat chard is to braise it African style with or without other greens. I’ll post a description sometime if you think you’d like that sort of thing.

We get a CSA box weekly. It can be a challenge to use the foods that I’m not used to having around, but it’s fun. I’d love to read about your approach to that…

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