Rah! Rah! Rhubarb!

Though this is National Rhubarb Pie Day, we’ll have to use frozen rhubarb, because Spring is still way off in most parts of the country. But rhubarb is a great addition to our diets if we have health concerns. Rich in antioxidants, rhubarb has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. This means that rhubarb is one of the veggies that protects us from many health issues, from heart disease and diabetes to cancer. It also lowers blood pressure and aids digestion.


Rhubarb stalks are also being hailed as “the next fruit superfood.” That’s great, even though it is technically a vegetable… a member of the buckwheat family. However, it was labeled a fruit in 1947 to avoid the higher tariffs that were placed on vegetables. That’s okay, especially when we remember that a tomato is technically fruit.




If you like tartness, rhubarb is most tart when eaten raw. It sweetens when cooked, much like onions. Oh, but never eat the leaves. Very toxic.


Thanks to Mom teaching me to cook and bake when I was a child, I have been making pies for decades. Rhubarb is a favorite, since I enjoy tart flavors, such as cranberries. But most folks prefer pies to be a little (or a lot) sweeter. So, I now always add strawberries. They sweeten the rhubarb.



Cathy’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie  
4 c rhubarb, thick stalks cut in half lengthwise; all sliced in ½”-pieces
2 c strawberry slices (thick or thin, your preference)
¼ c sugar
¼ c light brown sugar
2 (3-oz) or 1 (6-oz) sugar-free strawberry Jell-O
1 T cornstarch
1/3 c flour
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp orange zest
¼ tsp salt
¼ – ½ tsp almond extract, optional
Pastry for 2-crust (9 or 10” pie), fresh or frozen
2 T cold butter, cut in tiny pieces
For glazing the crust:
Either 2 T milk & 2 T sugar Or 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp water

In large bowl, combine sugars, cornstarch, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, zest & salt. Toss with rhubarb, berries (& almond extract, if using), till coated. Pour into prepared pastry shell. Dot with butter. Cut 2nd pastry into ½ –  ¾” strips and weave a lattice top for pie.  Fold ends under at edges; press to seal; crimp edges. Brush lattice with milk; sprinkle with sugar OR brush with egg yolk wash. Bake at 400°F for 20 min.  Reduce heat to 350°F and bake additional 25-35 min till crust is golden and filling is thickened & bubbly. Cool on wire rack to desired temperature. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

KISS Tips: You may want to protect crust edges with foil for last 10 min to prevent from getting too dark. Cooling to room temperature allows the juices time to thicken. To absorb some of the liquid that naturally is created by cooking the rhubarb, add 2-3 T instant tapioca in place of the 1 T cornstarch.  Let filling stand 5-10 min before putting in pastry shell. For a Super Simple shortcut version, skip the nutmeg, cinnamon, orange zest & almond extract. You don’t even have to dot the filling with butter.  To add a flavor zip, switch to 1 box Strawberry and 1 box Raspberry Jell-O. You can also top with a full crust, rather than creating lattice, but do cut slits in top for steam to escape.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
This entry was posted in Incredible Edibles. Bookmark the permalink.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!