Monday, January 15
Sometimes I'm Fickle
I believe that my love affair with 'Rhubarb' Swiss Chard was pretty adequately documented on this blog, with many pictures posted of light playing through its thick, red-veined leaves.
Swiss chard is a member of the beet family, which easily explains the thick root that you can see at the base of the plant in the second picture. In fact, it is a variety of beta vulgaris (the same species as the common beet) that was cultivated over the years specifically for the taste of its leaves rather than the flavor of its root.
While researching Swiss Chard, I found quite a few named cultivars and mixes. 'Rhubarb,' 'Ruby,' 'Bright Lights,' 'Rainbow,' and 'Fordhook Giant' are all well-known names in the world of chard.
I briefly considered purchasing seeds for 'Fordhook Giant' or another white-veined variety to grow in my 2007 garden for a change of pace. In visiting the websites of seed vendors, however, a completely different option presented itself: Kale
It sounds like I'm a little fickle here, I know, but it really is a smart option. I love Swiss Chard sauteed in garlic and olive oil, with a little sea salt... but to me there is very little taste difference between Swiss Chard and beet greens prepared that same way. I know that I am going to be planting beets again this year, so why not branch out in the greens department? I find kale to have a very different taste.
A few extra searches confirmed that I have to grow kale in my garden this year, if for no other reason than to enjoy the interesting texture it provides. Now the only question in my mind is this: From an aesthetic standpoint, which way should I go? Lacinto Blue? Or Redbor? Anyone have input on the aesthetic value of kale?