I didn’t grow up eating rhubarb. It doesn’t grow in the south because the weather is too warm (even MA is a little warm, it prefers the colder weather in Canada). I have a tendency to view vegetables I never ate as a child in a skeptical light. Fruity celery? No thank you.
Now that we are eating seasonally and locally, the idea of such a brightly colored, tartly flavored plant (vegetable? fruit?)–sometimes sweet, sometimes savory–is very appealing to my bored, winter-root-vegetabled taste buds. I’ve actually been excited about rhubarb season this year, even though I didn’t know how to classify what I was excited about.I grabbed a bunch of rhubarb from our local farm market as soon as they had their own home-grown. Laid-Back Mom, my Canadian bestie, scoffed at the $3/lb. price, citing her childhood memories of rhubarb growing like a weed in her backyard. How cool is that? You would think Georgia would offer better backyard edibles, but the best thing I can remember digging up were teeny tiny wild strawberries the size of a lady bug and onion grass. Woop-dee-doo. Anyway, $3/lb. seemed very reasonable to me, so I got a pound.
The next question was: what do I do with it? I consulted smitten kitchen, and she did not disappoint with quite a few rhubarb recipes from which to choose; being a pie girl, I had to go with strawberry-rhubarb pie. Although it’s still a month early for strawberry-picking in Massachusetts, I couldn’t resist making the classic combination of rhubarb and strawberry, so I cheated by supplementing my last cup of the 2011 frozen berries from the chest freezer with a pint of fresh California strawberries.
While I’m a pie-eating girl, I’m not much of a pie-making girl. I loved making pies with my grandmother as a child, so I took on the challenge to start a new pie-making tradition with my girls. It looks pretty, doesn’t it? And it was fun to make; Vivi has gotten to an age where she understands the value of keeping a clean kitchen and her dexterity has improved considerably from age three. So how did our pie taste? Mushy. Delicious and tart, but definitely unappetizing to look at.
If I bake it again, next time I’ll measure the fruit carefully. I just chopped it all up and threw it in there, figuring it looked to be about six cups. Oh, and next time I’ll also top the crust with some coarse grain sugar. It needed some crunch.
Even though this pie wasn’t great, the rhubarb itself was as scrumptious as promised, maintaining its toothy bite and pleasing tartness. Have you made anything you love with rhubarb? I’m thinking of making a savory dish next time, perhaps this one