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Though it may look similar to celery, the two are actually not related. Instead, rhubarb is surprisingly a part of the buckwheat family. 

National Rhubarb Pie Day was put into place to enjoy, appreciate and celebrate the marvelous and unique flavor that can come from something so simple as a few stalks of garden rhubarb mixed with a bit of sugar and placed in a crust.

History of National Rhubarb Pie Day

A vegetable that is a bit sour when eaten on its own but turns very tart and tasty when cooked with sugar, rhubarb is the star of the show when it comes to National Rhubarb Pie Day!

When rhubarb began being cultivated in England in the 1600s, it was discovered to be a rather prolific spring vegetable. However, it took a bit longer for rhubarb to make its way to the United States. The story goes that Benjamin Franklin sent seeds for rhubarb from Scotland to Pennsylvania in 1772 and a few years later it grew in popularity in New England.

Now, rhubarb can be found growing abundantly in many parts of the world where it is used in all sorts of recipes, from desserts and cakes to muffins and jams. But, obviously, one of the most famous and beloved ways that a cook can use rhubarb in the kitchen is by making it into a delicious rhubarb pie.

National Rhubarb Pie Day is here to celebrate this humble, simple, and delicious creation!

How to Celebrate National Rhubarb Pie Day

Pie is a category of dessert that has so many different options and rhubarb pie is a unique and special expression of this tasty treat. Get to celebrating National Rhubarb Pie Day by implementing some of these ideas, or coming up with some creative ones of your own:

Make a Rhubarb Pie

One clear and sensible way to celebrate National Rhubarb Pie Day is to, of course, engage in some culinary artistry in the kitchen and whip up a little homemade, hand-crafted rhubarb pie!

Start with preparing the rhubarb by washing it, cutting off the ends and chopping it up into bite-sized pieces. Then, either prepare a homemade pie crust or use a refrigerated crust for a quick fix.

The filling for a rhubarb pie is not difficult to make and it doesn’t even require cooking it in advance (unless the rhubarb has been previously frozen). Many recipes can be found through a quick online search, where some people like to blend their rhubarb with strawberries and others prefer to let the rhubarb be the star of the show!

Typically, the filling can be made by mixing the rhubarb with lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch and then tossing it into the pie crust. Add a top (lattice or standard), brush with egg white and bake the pie for about 45 minutes.

For a distinctly British flair, serve the slices of rhubarb pie warm and with a generous helping of cream or homemade custard.

Plant Some Rhubarb in the Garden

In honor of National Rhubarb Pie Day, perhaps it’s time to do some planting in the garden or, if it’s a bit too early in the year, at least it can be fun to do some dreaming and planning about what the garden will yield.

Rhubarb is a vegetable that grows well in cooler climates, such as the northern parts of North America or Europe. The plant loves tons of sun, but can tolerate partial shade if that’s the only option. Rhubarb crowns can be planted in late fall or early spring, but the seeds can be started inside at other times.

Of course, it is important to make the general reminder early on that the leaves of the rhubarb plant are toxic and considered poisonous to humans and animals. So those who are considering growing their own rhubarb should be aware and careful that it is tucked away safely from children and pets.

Host a National Rhubarb Pie Day Bake Off

Have some friends who really love baking pies? Well, then National Rhubarb Pie Day will be right up their alley. Host a bake off to see who gets bragging rights to say that they can make the best rhubarb pie in the area – or at least among that particular group of friends.

Decide in advance who the participants will be, determining who would like to be the baking contestants and who would enjoy the important job of being a judge! Set the rules for the bake off, including whether alternative recipes such as strawberry-rhubarb pie is allowed, and then send the people home to gather supplies and do their baking.

Meet up on the day of the contest to host a taste test to see whose rhubarb pie wins!

Get a New Rhubarb Pie Cookbook

Celebrate National Rhubarb Pie Day by learning more and strengthening those culinary skills in the kitchen through the use of books. Or just reading about it in a fun manner! Whether checking them out from the library or purchasing them in support of a local bookstore, this is the day to get those creative juices flowing.

Consider picking up a copy of one these books that include stellar information about rhubarb pie, as well as tips on growing and other fun bits:

  • The Rhubarb Pie Baking Book: Cooking and Baking like the Dessert Professionals by Alex Deen (2020). This little paperback offers recipes with a traditional background as well as tips and tricks for the modern baker.
  • Rhubarb: more than just pies by Sandi Vitt (2000). Taking things to the pie and so far beyond, this book offers tons of insight and information on how best to use a plethora of rhubarb in your kitchen.
  • Rhubarb Rhubarb: A Correspondence Between a Hopeless Gardener and a Hopeful Cook by Mary Jane Paterson and Jo Thompson. Share in the delightful anecdotes and stories between two women trying to share their skills with one another.
  • Rhubarb: The Pie Plant by Roby Jose Ciju (2013). This little booklet gets the reader started on the growing end, before the pie is ready to be baked.

National Rhubarb Pie Day FAQs

What is in rhubarb pie?

Rhubarb pie is made from rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, orange peel, flour and butter in a pastry crust.

How to prepare rhubarb for pie?

To prepare rhubarb for pie, cut away ends and bruises, wash, and peel if desired. Then cut into bite sized pieces.[1]

Can rhubarb pie be frozen?

Sure! Just wrap the rhubarb pie carefully in plastic wrap or foil and place in the freezer where it’s best if eaten within 6-8 months.

Do you need to peel rhubarb for pie?

Unless the stalks are very thick or it’s off season, rhubarb can be cut and baked into pie without peeling.

Do you boil rhubarb for pie?

While it isn’t completely necessary to boil rhubarb first, some people like to cook it ahead with sugar and lemon juice.[2]

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