As I’ve learned more about food in the last five years, one thing that I’m happy to be incorporating more of in my kitchen is stem to root cooking. Many vegetables we eat are used only for their “end” product, like cauliflower, beets, watermelon, radishes, and celery. You may be surprised to know that each of these offers so much more that we can utilize instead of wasting. One such way is these colorful pickled swiss chard stems. Of course we love use to chard for its big leafy greens that are chock full of vitamins and minerals, but what about those beautifully vivid rainbow stems?
According to several sources, the average American throws away 35 to 40 percent of the food they buy. I myself am not perfect either. There are definitely groceries or produce that I don’t get to before they need to be tossed, but I am making a conscious effort to change that. Last week I bought a huge bunch of rainbow Swiss chard, and after braising the nourishing leaves in coconut milk as part of a curry dish, I was determined to save the stems from the garbage and turn them into something delicious. The end result? These tart and snappy pickled chard stems!
I thought about roasting them, but I really wanted to preserve their stunning neon colors. This recipe is easy and requires only a few ingredients. It’s also nice because no water bath canning is involved, just a hot seasoned brine and a few days in the refrigerator for the flavors to develop. A combination of garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds and sriracha spice things up to create this zesty pickle. They’re a perfect snack on their own, diced on top of pork carnitas, or chopped into an omelet.
Spicy Pickled Swiss Chard Stems
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes two 8-ounce jars or one 16-ounce jar
One large bunch of rainbow chard stems, cleaned and cut to fit into mason jar, about 3/4 inch from the lip
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar or 3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha
1/4 teaspoon celery seed, divided
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, divided
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds, divided
2 cloves garlic, divided
Add each half of the celery seed, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and garlic to each jar. (If just making one jar, this can all go together.) Pack chard stems tightly into jars. Bring vinegars, sugar (or maple syrup), salt, and sriracha to a boil, in a small saucepan until sugar and salt is dissolved. Then pour over chard stems. Let sit until cool, then put lids on and refrigerate. Wait two days before eating for flavors fully develop. Will last 1 month in refrigerator.
*And a little news – I’m excited to be writing and creating recipes for Mother Earth Living magazine’s blog. With values and content that aligns directly with my philosophy on what encompasses a healthy lifestyle, the partnership was a perfect fit. I love that they include all parts of a what a healthy home and lifestyle entails, not just the food you eat or your exercise habits. You’ll find great ideas like how to make your own lavender hand cream, minimizing your footprint, gardening, and food preservation like these spicy pickled chard stems.