Strawberries & Rhubarb: A Fresh Taste Of Spring

Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

As a child I knew it was spring when there rhubarb pie for dessert. Rhubarb was always the first fruit of spring, and following close behind was its partner in pies – strawberries.

Admittedly, rhubarb is an acquired taste, and to be perfectly honest, I prefer it mixed with strawberries. Mother Nature must have been thinking along those lines when she decided to make both fruits ready for harvest in early spring.

Rhubarb has always been popular in northern Europe and the Scandinavian countries. It crossed the Atlantic to America with the colonists, and the local Indians began cooking the bright red stalks like asparagus, a custom soon followed by the colonists.

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Strawberries, on the other hand, have been cultivated in European gardens since the early 14th century. Present-day strawberries are actually a cross between wild strawberries and a strawberry that originated in Chile.

Today's recipes continue a long American tradition of using and enjoying the first fruits of the season. The recipes include: Spiced Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Pie, Rhubarb Pork Chop Casserole, Easy Rhubarb Dessert.


pastry: 2 c. flour, 3/4 tsp. salt, 3/4 c. shortening, 5 to 6 T. cold water

filling: 4 c. strawberries, halved, 1 lb. rhubarb, sliced (no leaves), 1 c. sugar, 2 tsp. crystallized ginger, 3 T. tapioca, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 T. butter or margarine

Prepare pastry: combine flour and salt in bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle cold water 1 T. at a time over mixture, tossing lightly with fork until pastry just holds together. Divide in half; shape each half into a disk. Prepare filling: combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, tapioca, chopped ginger, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Let stand 20 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out half of pastry on well floured surface to 11-inch circle. Transfer to 9-in. pie pan. Trim pastry even with edge of pan. Spoon filling into pie crust. Dot with butter. Roll out remaining pasty into 11-in. circle. Place over filling. Make decorative edge. Cut vents in top. Place on foil lined baking sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven 1 hour until golden. Tent with foil if browning too quickly. Remove to rack to cool.


1 qt. vanilla ice cream, 9-in. graham cracker crust, 1-1/2 c. rhubarb, sliced, 1/2 c. sugar, 1 T. water, 1 pt. strawberries, sliced

Spoon ice cream into crust; freeze. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat cook rhubarb and sugar, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Combine cornstarch and water; stir into saucepan. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Cook two more minutes. Cool. Fold in berries; chill. Spread over ice cream. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before cutting. Serves 8.


4 pork loin chops, salt/pepper, 3 c. soft bread crumbs, 3 c. sliced rhubarb, 1/2 c. packed brown sugar, 1/4 c. flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 T. oil

In large skillet brown pork chops in oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove to a warm platter. Mix 1/4 c. pan drippings with bread crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup; sprinkle remaining crumbs into a 13 x 9 x 2-in. baking dish. Combine rhubarb, sugar, flour and cinnamon; spoon half over bread crumbs. Arrange pork chops on top. Spoon remaining rhubarb mixture over chops. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle with reserved bread crumbs. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until chops test done. Serves 4.


1 yellow cake mix, 5 c. rhubarb, diced, 1 c. sugar, 1 c. heavy cream

Mix cake as instructed on package. Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-in. baking pan. Spread rhubarb over batter. Sprinkle with sugar; pour cream over top. Do no mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tests done. Makes 12 to 16 servings.