Pie Plant!

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.

Rhubarb roots

Image by Myshanah from Pixabay

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.

Rhubarb recipes

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.

Rhubarb Slush

  • 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

Image by Michael Kauer from Pixabay
  • 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!

Rhubarb Fever!

There is a backstory to this title. I will tell that story later, till then let’s talk about rhubarb and it is definitely in season. I can see my patch right here from my window and it is telling me to “get picking”.

There are lots of delightful things to create with rhubarb. To satisfy all you rhubarb lovers I will give you some great recipes. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Cake Dessert- Florence Brouwer

Table Blessings church cook book- 100th Anniversary 1st Reformed Church Randolph Wisconsin

Ingredients

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 3 c. finely chopped rhubarb
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 oz pkg strawberry or cherry Jello

Make cake mix following box directions. Put in greased 9×13 inch pan; In a bowl mix together the chopped rhubarb, sugar and jello and then place on top of the cake batter. Bake for 34 minutes at 350 degrees.

-I like to serve it warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Rhubarb Fruit Cup- Wilma Vanden Berg

Family Favorites of Sheldon Christian, circa 1986

Ingredients

  • 4-6 cups rhubarb
  • 1 package frozen strawberries
  • 1 small can mandarin organges (drainded)
  • 2 or 3 sliced bananas

Directions

Cook your rhubarb until tender. Sweeten to taste, but not too sweet. Then add your frozen strawberries, mandarin oranges, and bananas. Cool thoroughly. Very refreshing.

Glazed Rhubarb Almond Pie- Daune DeVries

rhubarb pie
Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

Randolph Christian School Cookbook, 1990

Ingredients

  • 1 4 3/4 oz danish dessert and pie glaze mix
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 4 c. rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c slivered almonds
  • 1 9 inch pastry shell

Directions

Prepare glaze according to package directions. Cover surface with wax paper. Set aside. Bring the first 1/4 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil. Add rhubarb, bring to a boil again. Reduce heat and simmer the rhubarb covered for 2-3 minutes. Carefully remove rhubarb with a slotted spoon. Set aside. Beat cream cheese with the remaining sugar, milk, and vanilla until fluffy. Fold in almonds. Spread over the bottom and sides of the pastry shell. Spoon half of the glaze over the cheese layer. Arrange rhubarb over the glaze and the remaining glaze on top of the rhubarb. Chill. Before serving sprinkle with additional sliced or slivered almonds.

Rhubarb Slush- Amy Hanson

rhubarb slush
Image by Sandy Miller from Pixabay

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of rhubarb, cut up
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1 box strawberry jello, small
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 1 container frozen strawberries
  • white soda

Directions

Boil together the rhubarb and water for about 20 minutes. Strain juice into a container to freeze. Pour half of the strained rhubarb juice into a pot to reheat adding to it: 3 cups of sugar, 1 box strawberry jello, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 container frozen strawberries. Stir together until well combined and sugar and jello are dissolved. Return the reheated portion into the container to freeze with the rest of the strained rhubarb juice. Stir together. Freeze. Stir frequently while freezing.

To serve, place two scoops of frozen rhubarb into a glass with a white soda, stir to combine. Refreshing! Enjoy!

Rhubarb Sauce- Brenda Groen

rhubarb sauce
Image by Gelly___ from Pixabay

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cut Rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3oz of jello

Directions

Combine water, jello, and sugar. Heat until dissolved! Add rhubarb and cook until tender!

Once bitten twice shy

My mother always told me we don’t talk about “illnesses” while eating food. I applied this maxim to reading recipes as well. Now that recipe reading is done, I shall tell my story.

My mother had made a rhubarb dessert for our Sunday evening desert after the big meal. Grandpa and Grandma Syens came over and we all enjoyed a nice meal together.

After supper, I ran outside to play. It had been a hot day with lots of activity and I wasn’t going to slow down that evening either. Eight in the evening rolled around and it was time to head home. Waiting for me at home was a nice piece of rhubarb dessert and a scoop of ice cream.

Wiping the sweat from my face in the kitchen dish cloth, I took a seat at the kitchen table and dug into the rhubarb dessert. Yummy! I really liked how it smelled, looked and tasted.

After finishing my dessert it was to the bathroom for a bath before bed. While getting ready for bed I felt kind of weird and made a point to tell my mother about my discomfort. Later into the night the fun began. My mom said I had the stomach “flu”, but I was convinced it was the rhubarb.

It’s been thirty years since that fateful night. I can make rhubarb desserts, I just can’t bring myself to eat them. Hopefully, I will be bringing you a few more rhubarb recipes next week. Stay tuned!

As always, here is to good food, good friends and a good life!

Michele