From early summer right through to late autumn, you can harvest this delicious and versatile green vegetable from your polytunnel. Beautiful and useful, chard is a fantastic addition to a polytunnel garden. Here are five great ways to eat chard grown in a polytunnel:
One simple and easy mid-week recipe will take only a few minutes to create and can be a family crowd-pleaser. Simply toss some Swiss chard or rainbow chard leaves, along with some fresh garden peas or other fresh produce from your polytunnel into a pan with some eggs and make a delicious, vitamin-packed omelette. Add some parsley, chives or other herbs for added flavour and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Chard, Cream Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart
For a dinner party or a summer gathering, this attractive tart makes a great centrepiece for the table. It is also great for summer picnics in your polytunnel or garden. Lovely hot or cold, a simple, whole wheat and olive oil pastry makes a healthier casing for a tart of nutty tasting chard, cream cheese and caramelized onions.
Chard -Wrapped Brown Rice Dolmades
For a colourful and attractive twist on the stuffed vine leaves of Greek cuisine, you can make vegetarian wrapped parcels of brown rice, herbs and vegetables all help within leaves of chard and slathered with a rich, tomato based sauce. Even meat-lovers will not miss the meat when they try this satisfying, filling vegetarian/vegan dish.
Chard & New Potato Curry
Another great vegan-friendly recipe is a chard and new potato curry that allows you to enjoy the best of the season. An aloo curry can be whipped up in no time and can satisfy that craving for a little spice at the end of a long summer’s day. A tomato-based curry sauce can be created ahead of time and stored for later, so you can make a range of curries throughout the year – perhaps using tomatoes you have also grown in your polytunnel.
Chard & Lentil Bake
One final recipe to eat chard, that can be enjoyed throughout the year, is a delicious lentil and chard bake. Layers of cooked red lentils can be interspersed with layers of chard or other leafy greens, and cream cheese or bechâmel sauce, and topped with a layer of whole wheat breadcrumbs and mixed seeds to make a hearty meal.
Of course these are just some of the many ways in which you can make good use of the chard that you grow in your polytunnel. Remember, early in the harvesting season, that young chard leaves also make a beautiful and delicious addition to a summer salad. Let us know how you eat chard in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.