Skip to content Skip to footer

On a scale of 1-5, how ambitious were you with your garden this year?

I started out extremely ambitious. Like, I’m-the-best-farmer-in-the-world-ambitious.

Then I had my ego handed to me on a platter made of corn stalk nubs, meticulously gnawed down by the chipmunks.

Pickled Swiss Chard:

But there were a few successes. In fact, there were many in the end. It just required a lot of weeding.

A lot of weeding.

A lot of weeding.

I-caved-and-hired-help weeding.

But there was some success.

Like this beautiful thing. This basket of fuchsia sticks. Also known as Swiss chard stems.

At the end of every season I like to preserve the end of summer for those cold winter months when a basket of fuchsia sticks seems like an impossible dream.

Here is how I preserved these particular fuchsia sticks… and helped keep their color in the process.

Pickling is such a forgiving thing. It can take on so many flavors and colors, depending on your whim. You can even experiment with interesting vinegars.

The stems are what you pickle on Swiss chard. The leaves you freeze or sauté and enjoy for dinner.

You cut them and trim them into 1.5-2 inch pieces, because that is the size that I think goes well on a plate of paté and cheeses. But you can really cut them to whatever length you desire.

Step 1 – Pour in your vinegar.

Step 2 – Pour in your sugar and salt.

Step 3 – Pour in your mustard seed…

…your coriander…

…your black pepper…

Step 4 – And then there is of course the important matter of beets.

Just like the turmeric I used in my pickled turnips not too long ago to dye them… here I used the bodacious beet.

I love dying with natural foods. Did I ever tell you that I used to paint with wild berries and crushed grass as my ink? When I was a wee thing. Or maybe not so wee.

Once the liquid goes from cold to hot and back to barely warm, that is when you add your swiss chard stems. This way, they will never turn brown from the vinegar, but rather maintain their beautiful color and marry with the beets.

It’s a wonderful marriage indeed. Have you spent any time preserving or pickling lately? There’s nothing like a good pickled thing in December. Amen.

Watch my video on how to make a universal pickle recipe and be sure to subscribe for more Modern Pioneering tips.

Have you subscribed to my YouTube Channel? It’s free and you’ll learn all kinds of Modern Pioneering tips and tricks. I’d love you to leave me a comment on the channel and let me know what you think. And don’t forget to share it with all your friends!

“Pickled Swiss Chard”

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 4 cups


  • 4 cups swiss chard stems cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups white or rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 medium red beet peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks


  • Place all ingredients - except the chard stems - in a large pot and bring to boil. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • Add the chard stems and store in mason jars or other airtight containers in the refrigerator. If you so desire, you can process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to preserve them for storage outside of the fridge. Consult a canning guide for these steps.


  • TidyMom
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I wish I had a good place to garden!……..our yard just isn’t good for it.

    but my do your pictures look DELICIOUS Georgia!!

  • Amy | She Wears Many Hats
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Beautiful Georgia!

    I should’ve hired someone to come help weed. Ours was a horrible mess by halfway through the summer, pitiful, but bountiful at the same time.

  • Nicole
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Brilliant idea! Unfortunately I don’t have much of a garden at all this year as I’m in an apartment with nothing but a small concrete slab outside my door (bonus: no weeding!). But I do have some herbs, both inside and out, and I’m lucky to have friends and family with abundant gardens nearby. I’m going to pass this post along to my dad who always grows lots of chard. It was so great to finally meet in person – hopefully we’ll make it to Austin soon and we’ll be able to chat a bit more.

    • Post Author
      Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:44 am

      It was so great to meet you as well! AND… I was thinking that the rainbow Swiss chard I see at Whole Foods and elsewhere would be pretty beautiful pickled… if you can’t get any from the locals 🙂 Please come to Austin soon! It would be so fun.

  • susan
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I love pickled everything so this is going to the top of my to list. I will use the leaves in this weekends soup! Yum!

  • Esi
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I need to get some jars and get to pickling. I haven’t tried it before!

  • Wenderly
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    You are a brilliant girl! Love the way you think.

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I only wish I had the land for a garden, for now I rely on the small herbs and citrus trees I have in pots in the backyard.

  • Marla
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Hey, it never even dawned on me that you could pickle swiss chard! Love the stuff, usually just sauté the greens, but apparently I need to change that 😉

  • shelly (cookies and cups)
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 5:00 am

    I need a hired weeder!
    And I have to admit I have never had swiss chard…you are expanding my horizons!

    • Post Author
      Posted September 21, 2011 at 7:18 am

      I think you would like it… I’ll make it for you one day very soon!

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 7:22 am

    What, WHAT?!? I’ve done a LOT of things with chard, but it’s never dawned on me to pickle it. I’ve GOTTA try this…

    • Post Author
      Posted September 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

      It’s especially tasty as a condiment for pate and cheese. Mmm.

  • Kalyn
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I love this idea and I have lots of Swiss chard stems in the fridge!

    • Post Author
      Posted September 22, 2011 at 10:18 am

      Yay. They add a fun accompaniment to salami and cheese plates.

  • aida mollenkamp
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    What gorgeous chard, Georgia! This recipe looks fabulous!

  • Lucy Lean
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Funny how similar swiss chard looks to rhubarb! love this fabulous way of preserving not only the pretty pink stalks but the every important color…

  • Vancouver Nutrition
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I love the idea that you can pickle it and keep that wonderful rich colour!

  • Nicole
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I am curious whether the sugar in the recipe is necessary for safety and preservation especially if waterbath canning. If if it is more for flavor, I think I would like to try using ground Stevia leaves instead.

  • Joanne Cipolla-Dennis
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 9:54 am

    What is the method for water bath canning of swiss chard please?

    Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:53 am


    • Georgia Pellegrini
      Posted September 17, 2017 at 9:44 am

      I would just let them be and not add food coloring. They will look brown but they will still taste good.

  • Trackback: Pickled Peppers -

Leave a comment

Recipe Rating

Let's stay in touch! Join my mailing list.