Celebrating Spring with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

26 May

Spring has sprung!  I think.  The past month has been cold then warm, followed by a snow storm, and then freezing rain on Mother’s Day.  We’ve been blessed with sunshine the past two weekends, which makes me hopeful that spring has arrived for good.

My favourite part about spring is the long days.  Sunshine at 8pm can’t be beat.  Besides this, I eagerly look forward to the arrival of locally grown produce.  We’re talking more than just greenhouse-grown peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Or carrots from last winter.  Humble Ontario grows everything from bok choy and snow peas to cherries and watermelon.  (For a list of the fruits and vegetables grown in Ontario and when they are available, click here)

Rhubarb and asparagus mark the start of a glorious 5 months of unbeatably fresh, delicious, and often inexpensive produce.  My food box returned this week and I was hardly surprised to see a couple stalks of rhubarb poking out.  What does one do with rhubarb when you don’t feel like baking?  Compote!

RhubarbStrawberries

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My box also came with a gorgeous basil bunch, so I decided to be just a tad adventurous and try a basil-scented strawberry rhubarb compote.  Feel free to omit the basil if you don’t have any kicking around.  It added a subtle earthiness, but maybe I’m just telling myself that because I know it was thrown in.  The addition of chopped, uncooked strawberries at the end gives this compote a great texture.  I like things on the tart side, but add a bit more sugar if you prefer a sweeter compote.  Unlike white or brown sugar, honey and maple syrup don’t need to dissolve so you can add more at the end as needed.

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If you’ve never purchased or cooked rhubarb before, this website has a bunch of great tips.  It also links to a very interesting-sounding recipe for roasted rhubarb salad.  Rhubarb in a salad?  Who knew!  Excuse me while I pop over to the grocery store to pick up another bunch.

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Basil-Scented Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
(from MyBakingAddiction.com)

If you’re feeling extra adventurous and have a bit of time on your hands, try pairing this with the meringue nests that accompany the original recipe, above.  They look divine!

½ lb (225 grams) strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
½ cup of strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped
½ lb of rhubarb (approximately 2-3 stalks), sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons of maple syrup or honey (or more to taste)
1 Tablespoon of water
3-4 whole basil leaves

  1. Set chopped strawberries aside.  Place rhubarb, quartered strawberries, water, basil, and maple syrup/honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Allow mixture to cook, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft and syrupy, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and discard basil leaves. Stir in the reserved ½ cup of chopped strawberries and allow mixture to cool.  Can be served over yogurt, topped with a dollop of whipped cream, or eaten as is.

Makes approximately 2 cups.  Per ⅓ cup: 52 kcal, 12 g CHO, 2.4 g fibre, 0 g fat, 1 g protein.

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One Response to “Celebrating Spring with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote”

  1. Alex May 29, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    beautiful Lisa!! Thanks for posting a bit of inspiration…when the British strawberries get enough pink on their cheeks (hard when it is so cold!) I will make some of this beautiful compote!

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