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Rhubarb Crunch Recipe for Spring

the perfect rhubarb recipeIt still feels like winter in Iowa and nothing green will show up for a little while. Even so, I am already dreaming of rhubarb. Rhubarb cake, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb jam, rhubarb pie, rhubarb wine all make up my version of sugar-plum dreams.

As a vintage cookbook collector, I spend hours pouring over cookbook pages, not only looking for treasured recipes, but for fun. Many are a greatly entertaining. A couple of things I’ve noticed in my perusing of antique cookbooks is that there are very few recipes that are truly original. Even back in my oldest ones from before 1900, I find recipes we see on the Food Network — sure they have been tweaked and presented in modern fashion, but I am amazed at the sophisticated recipes I find in those well-worn pages. Even those cherished recipes from mom and grandma out of the church cookbooks are probably from a long forgotten cookbook, magazine or newspaper recipe — I recently found what we thought to be my grandmother’s cookie “Norwegian Creams” in my 1963 first edition of the Betty Crocker Cooky Cookbook.

Sorry, I digress, that’s another post. THIS is about a luscious rhubarb crunch recipe I found in the 1959 Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook. Because the fruit mixture sauce is cooked and thickened on the stove prior to baking, I have found it is far more consistent than those that are baked with everything just dumped in. So here’s to spring and all of the tastes that bring us home.

Below is the recipe. I have added a few helpful hints, but for the most part it is the original recipe.  Enjoy!

Rhubarb Crunch

Crumb topping:

  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • ¾ cup uncooked rolled oats (DO NOT USE INSTANT — Use Old Fashioned)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Fruit mixture:

  • 4 cups diced fresh rhubarb (if using frozen drain well after thawing)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup water (reduce to about ½ if using frozen rhubarb)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Mix together crumb topping ingredients until crumbly. Press half of the crumbs in a greased 9” layer pan.
  • Cover with rhubarb
  • In a small saucepan combine:  sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla. Cook, stirring, until thick and clear. Pour over rhubarb. Top with remaining crumbs.
  • Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 1 hour.
  • Cool for at least 10 minutes and cut into squares to serve warm, plain for with whipped cream.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook, by Farm Journal, Inc.

Mary blogs at Farm Girl Cook’n where you can find her sharing incredible and fresh recipes that you won’t want to miss. 

Mary Lovstad

I am an Iowa Farm girl who aspires to write a cookbook featuring vintage and favorite recipes from my family and friends. I'd like to bring my audience the art of cooking like your mother, grandmother, or cooking inspiration. Cooking isn’t my only passion; I love gardening, anything vintage, photography, and travel. After many years teaching and working in the field of Information Technology, I am finally doing something creative and fun. In preparation for a “hopeful” early retirement I am trying my hand at being a food blogger, travel writer and amateur photographer. Instagram: farmgirlcookn

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