What the world?! Pie plant?! Yes, that’s right, you read that right, pie plant. It’s a plant you make a pie out of. How rhubarb got to the United States is a bit of a mystery. The story goes that a Maine gardener acquired some rhubarb seed from Europe. And twenty-five years later it had gained popularity enough to be sold in local markets and used in pies- pie plant.
Rhubarb is thought to be a fruit, but I hate to break it to you, it’s NOT a fruit. Rhubarb is a vegetable. Wait! What? I know! You’re probably as shocked as I was. Rhubarb is a vegetable… just let that set in. Man! But let’s not let that bit of news set us back. This veggie sure has made its way into a variety of yummy recipes, particularly desserts, sauces, muffins, cookies, and slush.
Right now as I type, I can look out my north living room window and I can see knee-high rhubarb. This rhubarb is a transplant from my grandma Syens’ rhubarb patch in Wisconsin. Last week it was ankle length; the sun is magic!
Also noted out my window is some asparagus trying to skip ending up on my dinner plate. I better write myself a note and go pick it quick- scribble, scribble. There! I’m sure I’ll misplace this note and thus the asparagus bush will grow.
Sidebar- Within the last 6 months, I’ve started getting mail; fan mail of sorts. Which has been really interesting because cousins I have never met have been secretly playing “Dutch Bingo”, trying to figure out who this “Michele” from Edgerton Minnesota is, and “how” and “to who” was she related to folks in Friesland, Wisconsin. Hmm.
So from M. Stiemsma in IA who sent an article (I wrote about life in Friesland, Wisconsin) to the rest of the gang in CA; they finally figured out who I was. BINGO! That was fun, and yes my grandma Jennie Syens was an Alsum, whose mother was a Stiemsma. Sadie Stiemsma.
You’re probably curious to see how I am going to tie together my relatives finding me and this rhubarb article. Well, one of my newly found relatives sent me a recipe called “Pie Plant”. TADA! Thanks, M.S. for this interesting recipe.
Pie Plant- Recipe book from 1925
Once full cup pie plant cut fine, 1 cup sugar, 2 lbs.. flour, 1 egg, 1 tsp butter. Beat egg, add sugar and flour, and then butter. Line a pie pan with a good pie crust, turn the filling in and bake. When done cover with frosting. 1 egg with 2 lbs. sugar. Put in oven and brown. Very Good.
- My cousin’s wife noted that she could not quite comprehend the “2 lbs. of sugar and 1 egg” for frosting. I can imagine that either!
Next up, a rhubarb slush recipe. I have never tried the slush recipe, but this year I am going to give it a shot! Betty Huisken gave me this recipe last year and it didn’t make it into the paper, but here it goes- Thanks Betty and Jean TeBrake.
- 16-20 cups rhubarb chopped- cover with water, cook unit soft- this should take 15 minutes. After cooking, strain. Measure 9 cups juice. Heat this juice to boiling and remove from heat.
Add and stir:
- 1 – 3 oz. package strawberry jello
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 – 6 oz. frozen orange juice
- 1- 6 oz. frozen lemonade.
Cool and put in plastic ice cream bucket and freeze. Stir occasionally while freezing to keep everything from separating. Serve 2 parts slush to 1 part 7-Up, ginger ale or similar white soda.
Streusel Rhubarb Dessert Squares- Mary Buys original recipe VIA Betty Husiken
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Combine and use a pastry blender or fork to mix until crumbly. Press into bottom of 9 inch, ungreased, square pan. Bake in preheated oven 350° for 15 minutes.
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 3 cups sliced rhubarb
Combine and blend well. Pour over partially baked crust.
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon ( Mary and Betty say they use more)
- 1/3 cup margarine
Combine ingredients using pastry blender or fork; mix until crumbly, sprinkle over filling. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown.
Put on a pot of coffee or get some hot water for tea. These are great recipes to try out this rhubarb season! I’d stay away from the “pie plant” frosting with 2 lbs. of sugar- diabetes guaranteed! Man… I think I need a new pancreas just talking about it!
Till next time, here is to good food, good friends and a very rhubarb filled life!
Michele Bruxvoort is sure to draw you in with her delightful sense of humor and love for living life. She enjoys reading, repurposing, as well as remodeling the family home with her husband. Drawing from her life experience as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus, Michele brings you a very honest and real perspective on life. When you don’t find her writing, you can find her mowing lawns, stocking shelves, taking care of her grandbaby and tackling her latest life adventure.
Wisconsin native and empty-nester, she now makes her home with her husband of 27 years in the South West Prairie plains of Minnesota.