The Park Ridge Farmers Market opened this past weekend, and it was so exciting to see freshly picked strawberries and rhubarb! You know it is late spring / early summer in the Midwest when you can find these two seasonal gems at the market.
Rhubarb is an odd plant and its history is fascinating. It is recorded as a medicinal plant as early as 2700 BC in China, known to have positive digestive properties. While rhubarb is known to be cultivated in many places, only the Chinese variety of rhubarb offers the special pharmaceutical properties. The rhubarb grown in the US and Europe is primarily for culinary purposes, first recorded in the late 1700’s. Similar to today, the earliest known usage of rhubarb as a food is as a filling for pies and tarts.
Rhubarb is quite tart. Don’t be intimidated by its stalks – you just chop these into half-inch pieces. The tartness of rhubarb is complemented by the sweetness of strawberries. A favorite recipe is for Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie… This is a tried and true recipe that is relatively easy for the beginner baker. You can always purchase a pie crust from your grocery refrigerator section if you are uncomfortable with making your own crust. After coming home from Saturday’s market, my family was thrilled to have this delicious pie served with ice cream for dessert!
Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie (based on this recipe found at Allrecipes.com)
1 lb fresh rhubarb, chopped into ¼ – ½ inch pieces (approx. 5 stalks)
1 lb fresh strawberries, sliced
¾ cup sugar
½ cup flour
Recipe for 9” Double Pie Crust (or pre-made)
2 T butter
1 egg yolk