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One thing I’m constantly striving to incorporate into my kitchen is less waste, and more use of all parts of vegetables.
Beet greens can be used in salads, carrot tops can be made into pesto, and the stems of broccoli can be roasted. Delicious vegetables saved from the trash.
And you can pickle your colorful swiss chard stems! Of course we love use to chard for the big leafy greens, chock full of vitamins and minerals, but what about those beautifully vivid rainbow stems?
Last week I bought I braising the beautiful leave of Swiss Chard in coconut milk as part of a curry dish, I was determined to save the stems from the garbage and turn them into something tasty. The end result?
These tart and snappy pickled chard stems!
A combination of garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds and sriracha are added to a simple brine, spicing things up to create this zesty quick pickle.
This recipe is easy and requires only a few ingredients. You’re preserving the chard stems, but no water bath canning is involved.
After you’ve removed the chard leaves, cut the stems into short sticks, or you can dice them into small chunks. Then add them to a glass jar, and pour hot seasoned brine over the stems.
Then let them sit a few days in the refrigerator for the flavors to develop.
They’re a perfect snack on their own, diced on top of pulled pork tacos, or chopped into an omelet!
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I made pickled red onions with this brine and they were fabulous, my 4 year old daughter and I couldn’t get enough of them, haha. I did try with chard stems when I had some in the garden, but I ended up not caring for them. The brine is delicious, and spot on.
Oh, great idea for the brine with pickled onions! And totally get that – chard stems are definitely not for everyone. :)
So I replaced the napa cabage in a kimchi recipe with swiss chard stems. It was an experiment, but I love kimchi and I had an abundance of stems (i like to dehydrate the leaves but the stems take sooo long). Anyways it tastes very similar, the texture is crunchy and chewier than the napa. I dont know if i would do it again, still have to try frying it. It does take on the sour aspect of kimchi rather well.
These were super awesome. Going to use this lots in the future for quick and tasty pickling! I used chili flakes instead of sriracha. Thank you!
Yay, so glad you enjoyed them! And chili flakes is a great substitute, thanks for the note.
Great recipe..enjoyed making and serving this quick pickle.
love to hear it, Eileen!
We love these! Super easy to make and they are delicious on pulled pork tacos or sandwiches.
love to hear it, Sarah!
Love the bright colors and flavors in this recipe. Totes recommend and use this as a base for a bunch of different pickle flavors
I am allergic to some of the ‘stuff’ in sriracha.
Can I use a jalapeno chopped fine?
Yes, that would work well!
Can pickled chard stems be processed to keep some for over winter?
I would think they could, but have not experimented with this recipe.
Could it be hot water canned? I have so much I would like to make it and give as gifts!?
Did you process some. I too have to much to eat by myself. Did you use water bath.
hello! yes, you can process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
After processing, were the swiss vhard stems still a bit crunchy?
Yep, that’s normal! The stems of vegetables like kale, swiss chard, and collard greens are very fibrous, so they will retain some of their crunch even with heat. I like to chop up the pickled chard stems for topping things, making the smaller size easier to eat, but the sticks easier to can.
I am trying to use items I have already; can I use mustard power, apple cider vinegar, and garlic powder instead of the forms listed above? Also, what, if anything, can substitute for sriracha and peppercorns? I am already fermenting beetroot & using the tops for salads, and I would like to do something with the stems, but I don’t want to buy something I won’t use again. Thanks for you help.
Hi Gloria! Apple cider vinegar will work, using dry spices will make it cloudy though. But if you’re not worried about that, the taste will still be good :) You could use 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for the sriracha and leave out the peppercorns.
This was SUCH a hit at our buddy’s 30th birthday cookout this past weekend. We were all doing “pickle backs” with the leftover juice once the chard was gone — MMM! A must try. Making another batch tonight to give to my food-lovin’ stepfather. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’m going to try this with stems from beet greens!
I think that this could make great pickled beet stems! Let me know how they turn out.
I pickle my beet stems using the same brine I use in my pickled beets.omg! So good. I’m addicted to these now. Can’t wait for this summer to make tons of them:-)
Thanks for such a great recipe! I reblogged this and linked back to your page. Thanks again!
Thanks Moriah, I’m glad you liked it!
I am at a loss as to why they would EVER go into the trash- [or compost]; they are delicious! They are the best part! If you want to try a great fast vegetable, wash and pat dry one good sized (8-10 leaves) Swiss Chard ( I like rainbow)
separated stems from greens- chop greens coarsely and set aside. Chop stems into small sliced across the veins, ( little crescent shapes) . Chop 1/2 an onion.
Add 2 Tbl favorite oil to large saute pan. Add onion and Swiss Chard stems. Saute till onion starts to get translucent (few minutes) add chopped greens, stirring till they start to wilt and get soft. Splash with 2 Tbls red wine vinegar or spiced vinegar. stir, remove from heat and serve. Salt as desired.
You will never even think about throwing away the stems. They really are the best part. Yummy.
I’m glad you said that as i was going to! They are also fab in a cheese sauce and I make pasties using the entire leaf, with the stems being cooked before the leaf. Total madness to throw the stems away!
Awesome, Amanda! The colors of these stems are gorgeous. Bookmarked.