Over this past winter and spring, we’ve been growing dozens of red and green chard plants. As the sun has gotten high in the sky and the garden is getting more hours of sun, the chard has grown into quite a forest. We know that the chard will start to die off as temperatures climb into the 90s, so we decided to harvest most of it a couple weeks ago to make space for more pepper and chills.
We decided to freeze the chard mainly for use in future soups and stews.
I harvested the chard by removing clusters of plants entirely–roots and all. I removed the bases and moved the mountain of plants to the kitchen where I removed the leaves from the stems and put them into a water bath for rinsing. After several rinses we removed the chard and cut it into 1 inch pieces.
At the same time, we boil water in some large soup pots and filled the other side of the sink with ice water. We put handfuls of the chard into boiling water for about 2 minutes, being careful not to add so much chard that it takes more than a minute or so for the water to resume boiling. Once the cooked has been cooked, we removed it with a slotted spoon and put into a strainer. We then put it into the ice bath for 30 seconds.
Finally, we removed the chilled chard and place it into a ziplock bags, labeled them, and put them into the freezer. Surprisingly, the entire mountain of chard was reduced to 5 quart sized ziplock bags.
It takes a bit of time to do all this, but it feels good to know we have several meals worth of greens from our own garden in the freezer and we can use them anytime we feel the need.