National Rhubarb Pie Day

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alt_598569_gallery_58862f4ac97c1_jpgToday, January 23rd, is National Rhubarb Pie Day.

Rhubarb has been cultivated by the Chinese for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. The plant grows from a rhizome, and the leaf stalks are thick and crunchy, similar in texture to celery. The stalks by themselves have a fairly tart taste naturally, although commercially grown rhubarb, often cultivated indoors, these days is usually sweeter than that grown normally outside. The earliest recorded use of rhubarb as a food is much more recent, dating back to 17th century England, as sugar became more widely available, and cheaper - without the sugar, rhubarb can be a bit too tart.

When making a rhubarb pie, the stalks are cut into short pieces and stewed in boiling water, with sugar added, until they are soft. The resulting cooked rhubarb can then be added to a pie case. Sometimes apples are included in the pie to counteract the tartness of the rhubarb, rather than just using sugar.

Image: By Jonathunder (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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