Rhubarb/Apple/Strawberry/Ginger Crisp

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Rhubarb has come into season here in the cold north, and while I can’t say I’m much of a fan, my spouse is — I suppose its only fair that he gets to have something he likes every once and a while.

I’ve never grown rhubarb so I can’t tell you much about how to grow it except to say that if you live in the right climate it doesn’t seem to take much work. Growing up, it seemed anyone with a yard had a massive clump of rhubarb tucked into a back corner or next to a shed. Even the most untended yards, occupied by discarded household appliances and car parts, and home to extremely negligent residents managed to keep an old rhubarb (probably the remnant of a long gone former tenant) alive with barely a glance in its direction. While I figure rhubarb isn’t a particularly taxing plant to manage, we just don’t have the space to commit to a large, leafy plant whose season comes and goes in a heartbeat.

Every spring I buy a few stalks at the farmer’s market. While I don’t love the tartness, I can’t seem to resist those pretty, bright red stalks! And if you mix them up with the right ingredients rhubarb is actually kind of tasty.

Notes: You can double the Crisp Topping mix if you like a thick and crunchy topping. I added ginger and orange juice because we had some kicking around that was about to go off. It makes a very interesting flavor but of course you can omit both or all and still turn out a great tasting crisp.


  • 2 cups diced rhubarb stalks
  • 2 apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
  • 2 cups diced fresh strawberries
  • 1/8 tsp fresh grated or finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup (dry sugar works too)
  • Juice of 1/4 of an orange (optional)
  • 1 tbps flour

  • Crisp Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flakes or oatmeal
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar (The amount depends on what you are used to. I use less because we eat very little sugar)
  • 1/3 cup of cold, cubed butter
  • pinch of powdered ginger

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved
Chopped and diced fruit.


1. Place filling ingredients in a bowl and toss until the fruit is coated.

2. Dump ingredients into a 9″ square or round baking dish.

3. Combine crisp topping ingredients in a food processor. Mix until crumbly. Break up any large chunks of butter with a fork.

4. Spread the crisp topping evenly over the surface of the dish, covering all the fruit.

5. Bake at 350F until the topping is brown and the fruit is tender.

6. Serve warm or cold. It tastes good no matter how you eat it.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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29 thoughts on “Rhubarb/Apple/Strawberry/Ginger Crisp

  1. Thanks for the reciepe! Your right about Rhubarb being easy to grow (and nearly impossible to kill). It comes in very handy when money is tight and dessert is needed. The plant I have originates at my great grandparents house and has moved at least three times over the last 150 years or so. Infact, everybody in my extended family seems to have a plant that originates from the Cambridge street home. It’s so easy to transplant and you can just separate a chunk and throw it in some dirt!

  2. Rhubarb happens to be one of my absolute favorites. I have tried to grow it here in Northern Alberta, but I didn’t plant it in the ground I did it in a pot and it died over the winter. So there’s a tip make sure it’s in the ground not a pot if you’re in the colder climates. Last year one of our elders made a big batch of Rhubarb/Strawberry jam. It was excellent. I would eat it by the spoonfuls right out the jar.

    Thanks so much for posting the recipe on here, I am sure that it will become one of my families many favorite summer recipe’s.

  3. I looove rhubarb – my new favourite way to prepare it (I’m lazy) is to chop it into pieces, mix in a bit of sugar, and roast it at 400F for 15-20 mins. Serve with plain yogurt or ice cream – delish! In fact, I had some for breakfast. :)

  4. Oh my gosh, that is so great! I inherited an old garden with a TON of rhubarb and have never cooked it before. I’m going to try it out when I get home!

  5. My mouth is watering. I love rhubarb, but the stuff I can get here must be different from the variety we used to grow in the UK as it’s incredibly sour. Your tbsp of syrup would never make an impact.

  6. The person who lived in our house before us planted rhubarb & Strawberries. I just used it for the first time last week, after moving it twice over the past 2 years. I like it more than I thought I would. Maybe I’ll get enough strawberries ripening simultaneously to try your recipe. Usually we just go outside and pick a few a day until the season is over.

  7. Rhubarb-strawberry jam is excellent, but I also highly recommend plain rhubarb jam, seasoned with plenty of cinnamon. I also use apple juice in stead of water for the liquid when boiling the rhubarbs, it gives it a bit of apple flavour. Make sure to use lots of sugar. It’s my favourite jam ever!
    Greetings from Helsinki,

  8. Oh man, that looks so good. I usually make crisps with just apples and cranberries, but that combination looks amazing. Mind if I come over?

  9. Mmmmmm. Gorgeous, mouth-watering photos, Gayla.

    This brings back memories of my granny’s rhubarb patch in Winnipeg. As kids, we’d dip the ends of raw rhubarb in the sugar bowl and munch on them. Needless to say after one of these sessions, the sugar would be pretty clumpy and icky.

    My mom used to make the most delicious rhubarb and strawberry crisp and double the topping, too.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  10. I have to admit, I’ve never even tasted rhubarb! I’ll have to check the local market here and give this a try since I’ve never disliked anything with a crisp topping. :)

    I wonder how it would taste with blackberries? I prefer those cooked over cooked strawberries.

  11. This looks like the stuff my grandma always called Pie Plant. Is it the same thing? Wicked sour, good with strawberries?

  12. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank you =) Off to print and stick in my “to try” section of my family cookbook.

  13. Cold North?! Aren’t you near Toronto? Funny.

    Anyway, rhubarb+sugar+strawberry jello = amazing rhubarb freezer jam. Just make 10 pints tonight. Yummy yum yum.

  14. Jen: I say cold north because it’s been cold and windy on the roof. Today was warm though, finally. I am in Toronto.

    Laura: I’ve never heard that term used but I’m guessing it is.

    emmalish: Only the tiniest amount is left.

    Papapots Jen: I’m sure blackberries would be good too. Strawberry is the tradition because they are both in season around the same time.

    Sue: I think this is a particularly sweet variety. It is beautiful and bright red. We also eat almost no sugar so what’s sweet to us probably isn’t to most folks.

  15. Hey Gayla,

    Just bought your book. I’m looking forward to reading it while lounging on the beach this weekend!

    I live in North Carolina and I’ve tried to grow rhubarb for several years without success. I think it must be too damn hot down here. My nana in upstate New York always had it, though. One thing that does grow splendidly here? Blackberries! Lord, we have so many around town that I don’t even need to plant any in my garden…

    It was funny to see your peony shot. Our peonies bloomed about 3 weeks ago and have long since fizzled and gone away…

  16. I made my first strawberry-rhubarb pie of the season last night – I’ll try a crisp next time!

  17. Kat- I tried your roasting recipe and it was fantastic!! It was so easy and so good! Now I’m going to want to eat it every night!

  18. I made this crisp tonight and it tasted great! Thanks Gayla for the recipe. My crust didn’t look quite as pretty as yours, but it still tasted great.

  19. I love rhubarb! My plants also come from my grandparents house, as do the recipes for compote, crisp, and cake- posted on my blog, http://www.trendyblogger.com. I am now waiting for my peonies to bloom- its been a cold spring here and the gardens are late!

  20. I just raided my neighbors rhubarb patch for an assload of stalks & can’t wait to try this, I’ve done the strawberry/rhubarb thing, but ginger?! Brilliant!

  21. I myself am not a big rhubarb fan, but I LOVE rhubarb strawberry cream pie and rhubarb pie my grandmother made with home grown rhubarb.
    I used to go out back behind her house and cut down the stalks, until I found gardener snakes in it!

  22. Mmm, that looks really good. (Fabulous pictures, btw! Taking pictures of food can be difficult at times to make it actually look good, but the reds of the strawberries and rhubarb are really vibrant and beautiful!) I’m going to have to try this recipe at some point in time, I love rhubarb desserts! :)

  23. i made this last night for my boyfriend and myself. instead, i put apple and raspberries which is what i had in the house. i also switched up the topping a bit…

    i melted the butter and put fresh grated ginger, coriander, and cinnamon in the butter as it melted… then i poured this in the flour/oats/brown sugar mixture. YUM. the entire topping was beautifully infused with the delicious flavors…

  24. thanks for the receipe, will try and I’m fairly new at gardening veggies and fruits. I have a huge backyard and plan to fill it with enough food for me and my senior neighbours. the house where I reside is actually the house I grew up in .

  25. Oh my, this was AMAZING!!! I love ginger, it was just the right touch. I used honey, rather than sugar, and it made it just right, not too sweet. I think next time I am going to try pears instead of apples. I made it for my weekly Tuesday morning office meeting and everyone else love it too.
    I wish rhubarb was around all year long. I am going to buy a lot this weekend at the farmers market and freeze it so I will have it a little longer. I am going back for thirds right now!

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