A delicious sweet and tart compote made from fresh strawberry and rhubarb
Last year we planted rhubarb in the garden for the first time. We were drawn by the idea that rhubarb comes back, year after year. We like that sort of low maintenance growing. We were also excited about using the tart vegetable (more on that later!) in recipes, including desserts and jams. What we didn’t expect was just how much we would love it!
Rhubarb is a funny little thing. Its stalks kind of look like celery, except that they are red, or reddish. Each stalk is topped with a large, flat green leaf that is pretty, but inedible. Rhubarb sold in the market will never have the leaves attached because they are toxic. And although rhubarb is part of so many delicious recipes, don’t plan on having it au naturel. Rhubarb is tart, sour and inedible on its own, but combine it with sugar and strawberries like we do here in our strawberry rhubarb compote and the tartness is a sweet surprise!
Where did rhubarb originate?
Rhubarb has been grown in Asia for thousands of years and was originally cultivated for the medicinal properties of its roots. It was during the 18th century that it began to be used for culinary purposes in Britain and North America.
What is rhubarb? Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable?
Although rhubarb is often treated as a fruit, cooked down with sugar and used to make pies and jams (and our strawberry rhubarb compote) it is actually a vegetable.
Is rhubarb poisonous?
The stalks are not, but the large pretty leaves are toxic. Eaten in very large quantities, the leaves contain large amounts of oxalyic acid and consuming too much of this can cause your throat to constrict. For this reason, when harvesting rhubarb focus on the stalks only and leave the leaves outdoors!
What is strawberry rhubarb compote?
A fruit compote like our strawberry rhubarb compote is fruit which is cooked with sugar. The fruit can be left in large pieces or cut finely. Unlike jam which is easily spreadable, compote does not spread easily and instead it is used as a topping or side to other foods it is meant to complement. As well, because a compote typically uses less sugar than a jam would, it does not have as long a shelf (or fridge) life. Compote is best eaten within a few days of being made.
Love our strawberry rhubarb compote? We think you’ll love these strawberry recipes too!
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Strawberry rhubarb compote
- 1 small pot
- 1 cup strawberries quartered or halved
- ¾ cup rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- ⅓ cup (67 grams) sugar
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Combine all the ingredients in a small pot set over medium heat. Cook, uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring gently on occasion (See Recipe Note)1 cup strawberries, ¾ cup rhubarb, ⅓ cup (67 grams) sugar, 2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice, 1 cinnamon stick
- Transfer the compote to a bowl to cool and serve over ice cream, yogourt, oatmeal or cake. Enjoy!