Are the Stalks or Stems of Ruby Red Swiss Chard Poisonous?

Ruby red Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris “Ruby Red”) complements several garden designs using its large crinkly green leaves that add texture and bright colour to late-fall gardens in which it rises round in mild winters. It gives new, easy-to-grow nutritional greens throughout the growing season. As this has a cheerful appearance, ruby red Swiss chard also packs nutritional value similar to the popular garden yearly, spinach. Both the leaves and the bright crimson stalks are edible.

Often Confused With Rhubarb

Although Swiss chard isn’t poisonous, all parts of the plant — including the stalks and leaves — contain some oxalic acid that can crystallize in people sensitive to oxalic acid, forming oxalate urinary tract stones. This may be a concern particularly in those with kidney and gallbladder issues. Confusion around its toxicity may also abound because Ruby red Swiss chard leaves resemble those of the perennial rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum), that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 7. Rhubarb leaves — although not other parts of the rhubarb — contain high levels of oxalic acid and are considered poisonous.

Grow It

Many varieties of Swiss chard are available for gardeners. All are grown as annuals, but ruby red Swiss chard has turned into among the most popular for both gardeners and landscapers. Sow “Ruby Red” seeds in containers, vegetable gardens and flower beds in spring, after the last frost. If you plan to harvest entire plants, continue to plant seeds during late summer, suggest the experts on Cornell University’s internet Gardening Guide. It’s a vigorous grower and, even if harvested often, this plant will provide months of tasty treats.

Harvest It

Gently harvest Swiss chard to support leaf production. Once the leaves reach a height of 10 inches, outer leaves may be removed and cooked or added to your salad. The entire plant may be harvested by cutting on the very best. Catch 2 inches and the plant will regrow from that foundation. Young leaves, particularly thinned seedlings, can be added to salads.

Cook It

Cook and revel in eating both the leaves and stalks. The leaves have an earthy flavor while the stalks are a little tart. The leaves may be blanched, steamed or stir fried; the stalks are excellent on pizza and in soups, sauces and stews. Chop and mix Swiss chard leaves and comes with ancient spring greens for a very simple salad. Many enjoy steaming mixtures of greens with a little bacon fat. After harvesting, carefully rinse before cooking, as Swiss chard frequently conceals silt in its wrinkled leaves.

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