Rainbow chard's pink, orange, yellow, and red stalks are sweeter than light or white varieties. Pick a bunch with deep green, crisp leaves; the whole vegetable should smell fresh, not musty. Refrigerate, dry, in a plastic bag, and use soon.

Chard's crinkly leaves can be prepared as you would spinach (though they won't cook down as much). Wash well, and steam or pan-toss until wilted; flavor with sautéed leeks, lemon juice, or tamari. Serve over polenta or brown rice.

Add thinly sliced stems to salads. Or cut stems in large pieces and blanch in boiling, salted water until crisp-tender; place several layers in a buttered baking dish, alternating with grated Asiago cheese, sautéed garlic and onions, and chopped fresh thyme. Bake at 375 degrees until browned and soft.

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