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Rhubarb Crumble Rumblings: Crumble History

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Crumbles are easy to make. You can use most fruits in your fridge and then just make up the crumble mix. It’s a great party pleaser. Do you know where crumbles come from?

“A crumble, traditionally known as a brown betty, is a dish of British origin that can be made in a sweet or savoury version, depending on ingredients used. A sweet variety is much more common and usually contains some form of stewed fruit topped with a crumbly mixture of fat (usually butter), flour and sugar.”

The most common of the crumbles is the apple crumble, but as I’ve said you could use berries, peaches, plums and, my favourite, the delicious sharp rhubarb. Rhubarb isn’t in fact a fruit but a vegetable. That came as a surprise to me too!

Crumbles boomed in popularity in Britain during World War Two when the nation was in rationing mode and a crumble topping offered a more economical alternative to pies due to shortages of pastry ingredients.

A crumble is an extremely versatile and budget friendly option, as toppings can be made from an array of pantry wholegrains and fats like butter, ghee or coconut oil, and glutinous grains can easily be switched up to include a mixture of nuts, seeds, gluten free grain flours and coconut. I sometimes add gluten free oats as a crunchy topping too. Sweeteners are also up for negotiation; utilising wholefood and low fructose sweeteners of your choice.

This type of topping is my preferred option as I’m grain, dairy and sugar free. As the rhubarb is quite sharp, some like to add a bit of Stevia but I like the sharpness so I leave it as is.

Did you know that rhubarb, is packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are wonderful for supporting a thriving and energetic life. In traditional Chinese medicine, rhubarb is hailed for soothing stomach ailments and relieving constipation, and is also used as a poultice to reduce fevers and swelling. Well, I never!

Rhubarb is also high in vitamin K which makes it a lovely ingredient for improving bone health, and limiting neuronal damage to the brain in the case of Alzheimer’s.

Rhubarb is also an immune system supporting ingredient due to its high levels of vitamin C along with vitamin A for infection fighting and antioxidant protection that will extend to glowing skin, healthy mucous membranes and improved vision.

This scrumptious crumble is a delightful and cosy dessert that will give you that bit of sweetness without overloading your system with inflammatory wheat and sugar.

Jack’s not a huge fan of desserts anyway so wouldn’t even try this. I’m trying to get Mark to swap his traditional wheat-based apple pie with sugar, custard and dairy double cream but I think I’ve got a real job on my hands!

If you do have any left over, you could always pop it on top of your porridge the next day for breakfast.


3 cups cooked rhubarb (see recipe below)
1⁄2 tsp nutmeg
1⁄4 tsp powdered stevia
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1 1⁄2 cups walnuts or almonds or mixed nuts of your choice
3 tbsp grass fed butter cut into cubes
Pinch of Celtic sea salt

Preheat oven to 175°C.
Place rhubarb in a bowl with nutmeg, stevia and cinnamon and toss them to coat.
Remove from bowl and layer them into a square pie or baking dish.
In a food processor, process nuts until fine. The recipe says this but I like my nuts chunky (oh missus! So I keep them whole so I don’t need a processor).
Add butter and sea salt until crumbly.
Sprinkle mixture over rhubarb and place in oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy on top.

1kg rhubarb trimmed and chopped into 2-3 inch pieces
100g coconut sugar or sweetener of choice  (I like the sharpness, so I leave out the sugar but you could include Stevia here if you need a bit of sweetness)
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
1/2 inch knob ginger grated or 2/3 tsp powdered ginger
2/3 tsp vanilla bean powder
1⁄3 cup water

More method
Place in large saucepan and place remaining ingredients over the top.

Bring to a boil and simmer gently until soft, about 10 minutes until rhubarb is cooked but still holds it shape add more water if required.

I pop mine in the over for 10 mins and add a healthy dollop of natural Greek yoghurt (not the Greek style s**t) and it’s good to go.

I think you’ll enjoy this recipe. You honestly won’t notice the lack of sugar and your waistline and health will thank you for it!

Do you have a favourite recipe?
I’d love to hear about it. Email me or dm me on our social channels.


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