The author’s grandmother, Sylvia, cooking in her Anchorage kitchen in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Petersen)

The author’s grandmother, Sylvia, cooking in her Anchorage kitchen in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Petersen)

Kalifornsky Kitchen: Bottom-of-the-freezer berry crumble

I’m convinced it’s impossible to mess this one up.

July is when I get excited about berries. Salmonberries, raspberries, blueberries, cloudberries … They aren’t quite ripe yet, but while I wait, I have been trying to use all the berries I picked and was gifted last summer (which isn’t much).

My aunt gave me a gallon-sized freezer bag of blueberries and cranberries that I’ve been trying to use up. I’ve been wanting to make a meal or a treat to drop off at my grandma’s house down the street. Since the pandemic started, she’s been stuck inside for the most part and hasn’t been able to do many of the things that keep her busy and happy.

After brainstorming meal ideas with my sister for a couple of days, we both decided we wanted to make her blueberry crumble. The recipe is from my grandma, Sylvia, who found it in a decades-old Anchorage Women’s Club cookbook. It’s classic and simple, but is one of my favorite recipes of all time — for its versatility and its decadence. My grandma made this in the summers growing up, and now I make it when I need a quick dessert.

I don’t know how many times I’ve made this crumble, but I’ve made it in all kinds of different dishes, using different fruits and using different berry-to-crumble ratios and every time has been a winner. I’m convinced it’s impossible to mess this one up. I mean, it is just berries and sugar, what could go wrong?

This recipe is extra easy because you don’t need to thaw your berries beforehand. Just toss them frozen into the baking dish, coat it with sugar and top with the crumble mix, bake and enjoy. Like I said, feel free to use any fruit. I’ve made this using raspberries, rhubarb, blueberries, a mix of all three. It works. My grandma, the purist, will always prefer Alaska blueberries though.

Blueberry crumble


4 cups Alaska blueberries

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the topping:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1 cup rolled oats


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place blueberries into a baking dish and add the sugar and flour. Stir with a spatula until the blueberries are coated. Distribute evenly across the bottom of the baking dish.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and oats. Mix until combined, then spread across top of the berries.

4. Bake for 40 minutes.

5. Let the dessert cool completely. Serve warm and with vanilla ice cream.

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