It probably originated in the desert region of Siberia around the Volga River Basin. The name rhubarb, comes from Rha, the name Muscovites gave to the river Volga, and barbarum, a reference to the barbarous people that lived in the region. Rhubarb is also known as "wild strawberry" and "pie Plant". In 1770, Benjamin Franklin who at the time was living in London shipped a crate of rhubarb to Philadelphia to his friend, John Bartram, the great botanist. It is generally agreed that 1770 was the year that rhubarb was introduced into the United States. It was not for another 60 years that the root gained popularity in the US. Some say this was because many folks associated the plant with "tincture of Rhubarb" a strong laxative that grandmother might have forced on them. This variety, Victoria, first appeared in American seed catalogs in 1828.
For a tasty yet unusual tea bread, try this interesting recipe.
1-1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sour milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 c. flour
1-1/2 c. raw rhubarb stalks, diced
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. melted butter
In a bowl, combine brown sugar, oil and egg. In another bowl combine sour milk, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with the flour, beating well after each addition. Fold in the rhubarb and pecans. Pour the batter into 2 buttered and floured loaf pans, 8 x 4 x 3 inches. Sprinkle the loaves with the 1/3 c. sugar combined with the melted butter. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 min., or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove loaves to wire rack to cool.