‘Use it up’ fruit crumble

By The Urban Nanna

When you forage wild fruits, or grow your own, or find a bag of reduced items at the grocer, it can be challenging to know what to make with them. Likewise when you find a few wibbly bits of fruit in the fruit bowl, or a rogue tin of peaches that you just don’t have room in the pantry for any more. This crumble is a useful ‘recipe’ to have filed away in your head for just such occasions.

There are no measurements, just ratios. It’s really vague. It’s chatty.
It’s designed to help you work with what you have, and see this dessert as a simple, quick solution rather than a ‘task’ that needs planning. So, have a read, give it a try, and prepare to never let fruit go to waste again!

‘Use it up’ fruit crumble


  • Fruit
  • Plain flour
  • Sugar
  • Butter

Use whatever fruit you like. Combine different types. It can be older and wibbly fruit if that’s what you’ve got. Use tinned or preserved fruit. Apples and pears are great, as are berries and stone fruit. And rhubarb. Citrus isn’t as good, but adding a squish of orange juice to other fruits is yum. Dried fruit is a good addition too.

Use what flour you have. Plain white, gluten free, coconut, wholemeal. If you’ve got rolled oats that need using, replace half the flour with them if you like.

Sugar. White, brown, Demerara, coconut, palm. They’ll all work.

Use butter, or margarine, or coconut oil. Go with what works for you.


  1. Preheat oven. 180C fan forced, 200C convection
  2. Do what works with what you have from the following: Peel and chop fresh fruit. Wash & drain berries. Drain tinned fruits. Chop dried fruit.
  3. Add fruit to a baking dish. You want it about 2/3 full, so pick a dish that suits the amount of fruit you have.
  4. (Optional) Sprinkle with some vanilla powder/sugar/essence and spices – cinnamon and cardamon are nice with lots of fruits. If your fruit is a bit tart, add a sprinkle of sugar too.
  5. In a bowl, add roughly equal parts sugar and flour, and half as much butter. Add some spices if you want to- just a sprinkle. The size of your dish will determine how much crumble mixture you need, but starting with 1 cup flour & 1 cup sugar is a good way to go.
  6. Smoosh it with your hands until it becomes a crumbly dough. Add more flour or butter if you need to adjust the texture. 
  7. Thickly cover the fruit with crumble mixture.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or so, until fruit inside is soft and has started to bubble out the cracks in the crumble. Serve & enjoy!

Our crumble used apples, pears and blackberries foraged in suburban Melbourne. Yum!!

Permaculture Principle 1: Observe and interact; 3: Obtain a yield; 5: Use and value renewable resources and services; 6: Produce no waste; 8: Integrate rather than segregate; 10: Use and value diversity; 11: Use edges and value the marginal.

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