Today we’re enjoying something a little bit sweet, a little tart, and closely associated with summer. June 9 is National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day!
I’ve already talked about the kajillion and one pie holidays celebrated this year (20, to be exact). For some of these we’ve taken the easy way out. But, I promised that when June rolled around, I would make a strawberry-rhubarb pie from scratch. And I had every intention of doing so. Until I happened upon a strawberry-rhubarb pie at the grocery store for $2.99. Adding up the cost of the ingredients I’d need – fresh strawberries and rhubarb, flour, sugar, etc. – not to mention the time and labor involved – and I quickly realized that I’d be a fool to pass up the $2.99 all-the-work-is-already-done-pie from Fred Meyer.
I’ve already talked about the history of pie and discussed strawberries, so let’s delve into rhubarb, shall we? It’s such an interesting food: a giant celery-like stalk that is really, really sour. It’s actually a vegetable that originated in China, where it was used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, and was brought to the U.S. by Benjamin Franklin, the same dude-who-was-inexplicably-never-President-but-played-a-huge-role-in-American-history. It’s a member of the buckwheat family, but you have to be careful with it: only the stalk is edible. The leaves and roots are poisonous and should be avoided. Typically, the stalks are cut into pieces and stewed with sugar, then used for cooking in dishes like…well, pies. I don’t think I’ve ever had rhubarb any other way. It matches well with strawberries because the sweetness and tartness balance each other out.
In case you’re wondering how the grocery store strawberry-rhubarb pie tasted, it was pretty good! I suppose homemade would have been better, but I’ll just have to save that for a future pie day. We have a few left, you know. Pumpkin pie, for sure…mark my words.