Heartbeet Kitchen
Spicy Pickled Swiss Chard Stems
September 25, 2013 (last updated February 7, 2021) in Canning & Preserving · Dairy-Free · Fall · Gluten-Free · Nut-Free · Paleo · Summer · Vegan · Vegetarian · 18 Comments
pouring brine into a ball jar that has swiss chard stems in it.
pickled chard stems in two glass jars with lids, stacked on top of each other

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?

rainbow swiss chard, close up photo
swiss chard stems in a clear jar, with peppercorns and spices in the backround
swiss chard stems in a mason jar, top down view.

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 spice things up to create this zesty quick pickle.

I thought about roasting them, but really wanted to preserve their stunning neon colors.

pickled swiss chard stems in a clear mason jar
Spicy Pickled Chard Stems in a glass jar, with steel lid

How to Make Pickled Swiss Chard Stems

This recipe is easy and requires only a few ingredients. You’re preserving the chard stems, but no water bath canning is involved.

Just pour a hot seasoned brine over swiss chard stems that you’ve cut into sticks. 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.

If you make these Spicy Pickled Swiss Chard Stems, be sure to tag me on Instagram with hashtag #heartbeetkitchen or @heartbeetkitchen!

pickled swiss chard stems in a clear mason jar

Spicy Pickled Swiss Chard Stems

Yield: 2 (8 ounces) jars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Pickled swiss chard stems are a great way to use all of this nutritious vegetable! These have a crunchy, spicy kick.


  • 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


  1. 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.)
  2. Pack chard stems tightly into jars.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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18 thoughts on “Spicy Pickled Swiss Chard Stems

  1. cm

    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.

    1. Donna

      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!

    1. Sunday

      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:-)

  2. Alexandra

    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!

  3. Gloria

    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.

    1. Amanda Paa Post author

      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.


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