Saturday, April 24, 2010
I am craving rhubarb. "Rhubarb," such a funny word. I decided to read about it. Details about rhubarb have been recorded since ancient China (2700 B.C.). In ancient times it was used medicinally for its purgative effects as well as aiding in digestion and improving appetite. By the 18th century, it was grown for culinary purposes in Europe and the U.S.
Rhubarb is a perennial with large fleshy rhyzomes. It has large leaves with long thick stalks called petioles. It is rich in vitamin c and dietary fiber.
This is all good and interesting, but for me rhubarb tastes like summertime. Hot? Thirsty? Tear off a huge stalk of rhubarb and you are instantly rewarded with a tart, juicy snack. Sure you can make it into pie, jam, jelly or even a cocktail but the best part is straight off the bush.
There is a great recipe for rhubarb pie in Jannette Haase's book "From Seed to Table":
Fresh Rhubarb Pie
2 9” pie crusts
6-8 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup flour
1 tsp grated orange rind
Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). In a large bowl, mix together rhubarb, flour, sugar, orange rind and eggs. Place in one pie shell and cover with the other. Seal the edges and brush with butter if you wish. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 F (175 C) and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden. The moisture content of rhubarb depends upon the amount of rain it’s had, sometimes the pie can be quite runny but the juices are delicious so I never worry about it.
My craving came out in a quick chat to Jake Rothchild of Jake's Ice Cream. He said "would you be open to a combo of strawberry/rhubarb?" Sounds good. I said "do you think it will need something for texture? Graham cracker crumbs, perhaps?" He said "are you thinking what I'm thinking? StrawberryRhubarb Piescream?" And then he made it. I will be heading down to Jake's at Irwin Street Market to try some summertime. I am hoping it will taste like my youth which is what I fear I am craving more than rhubarb. I scream, you scream, we all scream for piescream!