It’s the first full week of June, and we have three national food holidays in one weekend! June 9 is “National Rhubarb Pie Day,” June 10 is “National Iced Tea Day,” and “National Herbs and Spices Day.

Last week I wrote about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Pie Plant,” more commonly known in these parts as rhubarb. From childhood, I recall sitting on the wide front porch of a home on South Strong Road eating strawberry rhubarb pie. The Star Club would gather together each summer for an afternoon of “pies on the porch.” Each delicious slice is served alongside a refreshing icy cold glass of iced tea. (The Star Club was the fundraising arm of the local fraternal organization “Eastern Star”). I looked forward to that day of picnic and pies with great anticipation.  Summer in Maine is for enjoying pies, porches, and iced teas.

My research tells me there was a limited, favorable response to iced tea until Richard Blechynden introduced it at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Although, southern America was ahead of the curve when Marion Cabell Tyree introduced iced sweet green tea in 1879.  Recall the green tea plantation in South Carolina, which is now “American Classic Tea Plantation,” and by 1884, Mrs. D.A. (Mary) Lincoln, Head of the Boston Cooking School, was serving iced, sweetened, black tea in the North.

I first had sweet tea on a trip with my friend and headed to Alabama to pick up her mother. She talked about “sweet tea” as we traveled to our destination. At the first “Waffle House” we came to, we pulled over so she could quench her thirst. We ordered our main course. My friend insisted I order sweet tea. The first sip told me I would never be a fan. My friend was surprised I had never had it. She thought it wasn’t that sweet, but I couldn’t drink it. The sweetener is sugar simple syrup and added after brewing the tea, as regular granular sugar doesn’t dissolve easily in beverages after they are cooled. Everyone has their favorite beverage. Sweet tea is my friend’s way of connecting to her southern heritage. I’m all for that!

How about celebrating National Herbs and Spices Day with herbal iced tea. I know that, strictly speaking, “herbal teas” are not considered authentic teas, but I still enjoy them over ice in the summer heat. Often I’ll make “sun tea,” which has been brewed outside in a mason jar out on the deck.

Sun tea brewing in mason jar

Brewing it in the sunshine makes the tea naturally sweet, or at least not bitter. I use many types of herbs and spices. A favorite in the summer is mint. It’s not only refreshing, but I have a ready supply in my garden. Try four cups of water to four cups of apple juice to make it refreshingly sweeter. If you want to put a fancy spin on it, slice wedges of cored apple and add a sprig of mint to each glass before serving. The only limitation to making herbal tea is your imagination. Try it out if you can eat it; it sounds good as a beverage. Make it your own.

Now that you’ve made your tea, you need a delicious summer pie to go with it! I highly recommend this New England favorite, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Yum! And don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

In New England, strawberry rhubarb pie defines summer. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you're living it up!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 slice
Calories 471kcal
Cost $10


  • 1 Rolling pin
  • 2 Bowls, large Optional make crust first, wash bowl, then prepare pie filling
  • 1 Bowl, small
  • 1 Fork
  • 1 Spatula
  • 1 Butter knife
  • 1 measuring cups
  • 1 Measuring spoons
  • 1 Pastry blender Optional use knife and fork
  • 1 Pie plate 9-10 inches diameter


  • 3 1/2 cups Rhubarb, cubed
  • 2 cups Strawberries, stemmed and sliced
  • 3/4 cup Sugar, granulated or caster
  • 4 tbsps Arrowroot
  • 1/4 tsps Himalayan salt
  • 2 Pie crusts

Pie Crust (2 Crusts)

  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps Sugar, confectioner's
  • 1 cup Salted Butter, grated
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream, full fat
  • 1 Large egg, yolk
  • 1 tbsps cream


Pie Crust (2 crusts)

  • Grate chilled butter. Allow to set for a few minutes - just enough to take the chill off, but don't let it get soft.
  • In large bowl, whisk together with a whisk or fork, flour, salt, and sugar.
  • Incorporate butter into flour mixture using pastry blender or knife and fork until it resembles coarse meal.
  • Add sour cream and using the pastry blender or a fork, work it into the flour and butter mixture.
  • Usig your hands, work the dough into a ball. Split into two discs. Cover with airtight covering and refrigerate at least an hour, up to 24 hours.
  • Remove from refrigerator. Let it sit out for a few minutes so it's not warm, but it's pliable. Roll each disc (if needing two, or freeze the other) out on a flat, lightly floured surface until you have a circle 10-14" in diameter. Lift a portion of it up every now and then to be sure it's not sticking. If it is, add a little more flour to your surface area. You'll want it to have an even thickness.
  • Add one rolled out crust to pie plate.

Pastry Egg Wash/Glaze

  • Whisk together 1 large egg yolk and 1 tbsp cream. Baste exposed pie pastry with this mixture. This will make a nice glaze on the top crust and seal the bottom crust.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling

  • Position baking rack in the middle. Preheat oven to 400F (204C)
  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Add to prepared pie plate. Spread out evenly.
  • Take second rolled-out crust and layer it over the top of filled pie plate.
  • With a knife, trim around the diameter of the crust. Using the tines of a fork or your fingers, crimp the edges together (this is called fluting). Now cut slits in the top to allow the steam to escape or prick the top letter with "s" and "r" for strawberry rhubarb.
  • Baste the top and edges with the pastry glaze.
  • Place pie on a baking sheet pan to catch any escaped juices and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 mins. Reduce heat to 350F (180C)
  • Remove from oven when the crust is golden brown (about 40-50 minutes) and place on cooling rack.
  • Pie can set covered on the counter for up to 2 days or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I've never seen it last that long in our home! Enjoy this delicious pie while its fresh!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 266mg | Potassium: 272mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 916IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 2mg