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How can I reduce the dry mouth feeling that eating Swiss chard gives me?

Dark leafy greens like Swiss chard and spinach contain oxalic acid, which gives you that "dry mouth" feel when you eat them. Is there some cooking method or preparation I can do to reduce this dry mouth feel? I really enjoy eating leafy vegetables, but I don't like the resulting mouthfeel.

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  1. Just squirt a bit of fresh lemon juice on the greens right before serving.
    I learned that one accidentally when I threw together a quick spinach saute, and impulsively squeezed lemon in at the last minute.
    Other CHers can tell you how the chemical reaction works, I just know it does the trick.

    1. I never had that problem but I always prepare my chard with either fresh or canned tomato

      1. I've never heard of this, and I have eaten a lot of chard and spinach, but my suggestion would be to add a little slick of fat --- butter, olive oil, bacon fat, etc. I was raised eating chard with a dash of vinegar, though I doubt it would help with "mouthfeel." Try fat.

        1. Does it happen when you cook it? After doing some googling, I found out that it is water soluble, so blanching, and then squeezing out excess water ought to help.

          2 Replies
          1. re: wyogal

            Yes, this is after sauteeing - I tried olive oil, butter, bacon fat ... dry mouth. I tried simmering in broth - dry mouth. I really love the flavor of chard and it's so healthy, but I can't stand the dry mouth feel.

            I haven't tried lemon yet.

            1. re: Kosmonaut

              Have you tried water? Blanch, squeeze dry, then saute.

              1. I see that someone has suggested the squirt of lemon (or vinegar) post-cooking so that the acidity can neutralize the acid in the greens. I also don't know why it works, but it does stop that dry, squeaky mouthfeel. Another method if you don't care for the taste of either is to soak the greens in acidulated water for an hour, which will accomplish the same result; just make sure that you rinse and dry them well. And I bet you'd love a gratin, Kosmonaut. Give it a try.

                3 Replies
                1. re: mamachef


                  I grow various spinach and chard varieties and acidulated water or a quick blanch will remove those crystals that make your teeth feel "hairy".

                  1. re: Novelli

                    OK, thanks - do you recommend water with lemon juice or vinegar?

                    1. re: Kosmonaut

                      As stated earlier, it is about the water. The offending acid is water soluble.

                2. You could also try teaming it with something mucilaginous - like okra, or ceylon spinach (malabar spinach, basella alba or basella rubra), which is meant to be very easy to grow.

                  My thinking is that they might cancel each other out somewhat.