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Aug 5, 2013 10:35 AM

Swiss chard - weight question

Can you settle a burning question? My recipe says "1 kg chard, stems removed, chopped". Do I remove the stems and then weigh the chard? I am concerned that this will give me way, way too much chard in the recipe because 1kg of chard leaves is a very very large amount, (the stems weigh quite a lot more than the leaves). I'm inclined to think that I'm supposed to weigh the entire bunch, THEN remove the stems...

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  1. Remove stems and weigh. This will cook down anyways.

    1. I'm inclined to agree. The stems are delicious, by the way, they just need to be cooked a bit longer. (Unlike kale stems which are really tough no matter how long you cook them in my experience.)

      1. I'm going to disagree -- I think it's 1 kg before removing the stems. Unless your recipe makes enough for an army. Sure it cooks down, so it's less volume, but a kilo is still 2.2 pounds, and that's a lot of food, period.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Good point, Ruth - I have been removing the stem at the base of the leaf (so I still have to cut out part of the stem inside the leaf) and I have a massive pile of leaves on my kitchen counter right now. It's going to cook down, sure, but it's a ludicrous amount of greens.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Agree with this. How would you know how much chard (with stems) to buy to equal 1kg chard without stems?

            1. re: MrsJonesey

              I was taught when reading an ingredient list that the weight/measurement referred to the item before the comma.

              For example:
              1 cup sifted flour
              1 cup flour, sifted

              In the first case you sift the flour and then measure. In the second case you measure and the sift.

              So, for the chard question "1 kg chard, stems removed, chopped" that means get 1 kg chard and then stem it and then chop it.

              1. re: JKDLady

                You're right, JKDLady. But unfortunately not all recipe writers were taught!

                1. re: JKDLady

                  I agree with your interpretation of this recipe, but I wonder: how would you have to write it to make it clear that you meant 1kg _after_ removing the stems?

                  1. re: JKDLady

                    Not only is JKDLady absolutely correct, but any recipe written as the OP's is but meaning otherwise is sufficiently poorly-written that I would not trust any of the author's recipes.

                    Greens cook down a great deal. General rule of thumb is that one pound (trimmed) will cook down to one cup. Same ratio, by the way, for caramelizing onions and roasting eggplant.

              2. Yes, 1 kg of leaves no stems. A kilo will cook down a lot.

                1. Of course it has to be one kg of whole chard, then remove the stems and chop them … unless it's meant to feed a mob! Besides, how on earth could you figure out how much chard to buy to wind up with 2.2 pounds of just the leaves?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Will Owen

                    It's inconvenient, but it's not that rare for a recipe to require a bit of guesswork or estimation. Like if it says "4 cups of diced onions" or "1 cup of lemon juice" they might helpfully add "(about 3 large onions / medium lemons)", but not always.

                    It would be clearest if they said "1kg of chard" so you would buy that amount, and then when they mention "stems removed and chopped" they could say "you should end up with approx. 600g or 8 cups of chopped leaves" (or whatever it is), so you could verify the amount at the point.