A delicious and fresh strawberry rhubarb crisp with hints of orange, vanilla and spices. A perfect use for all the rhubarb in your garden in a recipe that doesn’t override the natural tart properties of the rhubarb.
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Most Recipes with Rhubarb and The Problem I Have with Them
Rhubarb is a very durable plant to have in your garden. The yield is usually quite large and the plant itself is nearly indestructible. Rhubarb is a plant that’s always given away to lucky neighbours and friends because of the sheer volume the plants can produce. Because of this, a lot of people look for recipes to tackle their enormous supply. So many of these recipes are insanely sweet which I believe does a disservice to the delicious tartness of rhubarb in it’s natural element.
Other Ways to Use Up Rhubarb
My friend Kat gave me some rhubarb that her friend had given to her. I had a few pounds to use up and had no idea what to do with it. Eventually, I settled on a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, Dehydrated Rhubarb Crisps and Flash Frozen Rhubarb. The flash freeze was my way to save what was left and starting to go a bit limp. I feel really bad about wasting produce and always look for ways to maximize my uses. I have a section of the blog where I make use out of frequently wasted items and offer ways to use things that may be slightly out of the ordinary here.
Dehydrated Rhubarb “Candy”
This recipe for dehydrated rhubarb is hardly enough for a recipe, so it’s enough to sneak it in here. The recipe consists of only one additional ingredient: simple syrup. For this recipe, you can use any flavour of choice – I personally went for Lavender syrup that was leftover from when I bottled my last batch of Kombucha.
All you do is “peel” the rhubarb into slices with a vegetable peeler and soak it in simple syrup for an hour. After, place it in a dehydrator (or oven) at 135 F for 2-4 hours, checking every hour for your desired texture.
For my dehydrator, I use the Excalibur 5-Tray Dehydrator that I got on sale at Costco! You can purchase it here (Canada) (US). For the Canadian version, I believe they only make the 9 tray now so I’ve linked that. I had used a cheaper dehydrator before and we ended up returning it because it really just wasn’t worth the $100 savings from the Excalibur. It was made cheaply and it showed.
My recipe inspiration came from Storey. They taste something like a fruit roll up with a tart sweetness. What’s great about this recipe is it also freezes well and can be used for a cool treat in the summer.
Preserving Leftover Rhubarb
I hate freezing fresh produce. There’s something so superior about produce that’s never been frozen. No matter my preference, preserved produce is better than wasted produce, and there are ways to freeze things in a ways that are less sucky. For rhubarb this process is relatively easy. It doesn’t require blanching, so all you need to do is cut the fruit into your desired size and flash freeze it for about an hour before adding it to a ziplock bag so they pieces don’t clump when they are frozen. This method allows for freezing for about 6 months – and the rhubarb is best in dishes that require baking or cooking as the texture may change slightly.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe Reimagined
As a child, one of my most fond memories is my great grandmothers Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. My great grandmother, Anne, was a real life angel and incredible baker. She was my grandfather’s mother and loved to spoil her whole family with all the food, always. She lived through the Great Depression and was awesome at making really luxurious things out of simple ingredients. The only change I would’ve wanted to make to her version was the sweetness. When looking for a recipe to use, I used this as a reference and made changes to the amounts of sugar as well as spices and add-ins. I also added much more rhubarb without increasing the amount of strawberries.
For me, this recipe checks all the boxes of flavour balance. The sweetness of the strawberries is complemented by the tart rhubarb, the rich fattiness of the butter and the subtle flavouring from the vanilla, zest and spices. This rendition takes inspiration from your grandmother’s classic crisp, but takes it up a notch by balancing out all the different elements. Ensure the top of your crisp is actually crispy. If your oven runs cool or is uneven, leave it in and broil the final result if needed. Also, it’s best to reheat this in the oven as it can get soggy quickly.
Not Your Grandmother’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- 5 cups rhubarb
- 3 cups strawberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups flour all-purpose
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- salt pinch
- vanilla ice cream for serving, optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut the strawberries and rhubarb into 1/2 inch – 2/3 inch pieces. Place into a large bowl and mix together with white sugar, orange zest, vanilla and cinnamon.
- In another bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, butter and oats, nutmeg and salt until combined. It is best to use a pastry cutter as you want some chunks and it crisps better if the butter is cold.
- Place the fruit mixture into a large oven proof baking dish. Place the dry ingredient mixture over the fruit – do not combine. Place in preheated oven and bake at 375 until bubbling and crispy on top. If the topping doesnt get browned to your liking by the time that the fruit is bubbling, you can put it under the broiler for a minute or two. Watch this closely to ensure it doesn't burn.
- Cut the dish into 12-15 servings. Serve immediately and enjoy leftovers either rebaked or in the microwave.
- If serving with ice cream, place on top or beside the crisp right before serving. This is a time where it's very worth it to buy good quality ice cream, ideally some that you can see flakes of vanilla beans in.
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