Spring always makes me think of Rhubarb first and Strawberry second. And Artichokes, but that’s another story! And I love me some Rhubarb Sauce, sweet or savory, but I love me some Strawberry Rhubarb Compote even more. And in case you’re wondering, because not everyone knows, “compote” just means fruit cooked or preserved in a sugary syrup, and it just, well, sounds “fancier” than Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce.
I grew up on Rhubarb sauce and learned how to make it from my Grandma, Irene when I was about 12. We had moved from one side of town to the other and there was a rhubarb plant on the side of the house. I told the story about that sauce on another post, the one for my Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with a Rhubarb Cranberry Compote. We cut up the rhubarb and put it in a pot. Then Grandma says, “Put some sugar in it.” Of course, I wanted to know how much and Grandma replied, “Just some sugar.” And in my head, never aloud, I couldn’t help but think, “Thanks, Grandma, that’s helpful.”
About Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:
Well, that’s how Grandma cooked, and really often how I cook, too. I had to learn how to hold myself back, take a look at or even measure what I normally dump in a pot when I was writing up recipes for my daughter and later when I started this blog. But some things aren’t particular and some things are just by taste, so in effect, in the recipe below, I say “Put some sugar in this.” But I’m giving you a range, 1/4 to a 1/2 a cup so you can have your Strawberry Rhubarb Compote on the tart or the sweet side. Me? I like it tart.
This Strawberry Rhubarb Compote is such a perfect dessert topping. Over ice-cream or a yellow, white or pound cake. It can be napped over a pannacotta, pudding, custard or layered in a parfait. Or it can go on pancakes or in Crepes, specifically my Sheet Pan Crepes, and that’s what I made it for, today. That recipe will be posted next. I think Strawberry Rhubarb Compote just a perfect little “Springy” recipe and it would be great for Mother’s Day, which is coming up. It’s hard to believe it’s the first of May, already!
I kept this Strawberry Rhubarb Compote very simple, just letting the flavors of the rhubarb and strawberry shine through. You can tweak or fiddle with the recipe, adding in other flavorings. At the most basic, maybe a little vanilla, but citrus, like lemon, lime or orange is always good. Some people like flavorings that lean towards chutney, maybe a little cardamom.
Making Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:
There’s nothing to making this easy and quick dessert sauce. It’s almost as easy as Grandma said! Dump the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a pot, preferably a heavy bottomed pot, then give it a head start before adding in the strawberries because the Rhubarb takes longer to cook than the strawberries do.
When your rhubarb is softened, add in the strawberries and let everything simmer a few more minutes until everything is cooked down how you like. You can simmer it so the fruit is still distinct or go a little longer until the strawberries are meltingly soft like a jam and the rhubarb dissolved almost into shreds, if you want. Serve cold, room temperature or warm. The Compote will be a bit thicker when it’s room temperature and even thicker when it’s cold. It can be reheated, gently.
As I mentioned above, this sauce can be tart or a little sweeter. Not sure which you prefer? Start out with the lesser amount of sugar and when it’s almost done, give it a taste. Careful; it’s going to be boiling hot. Then if you want your sauce sweeter, add more sugar until it’s perfect for you.
Know that the color of your compote can vary from the compote I made. The rhubarb I used was particularly red and didn’t come from my garden variety rhubarb growing in my yard – which has never done well with the huge amount of shade I have. But that common rhubarb has rosy stalks and is a dullish green inside and that might just affect how red your Strawberry Rhubarb Compote turns out. Some people add a drop or two of food coloring.
Saving Money on Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:
Your best bet is to grow, beg or borrow your rhubarb, then if that’s not an option, check the farmer’s market. The price at the grocery is never very good. If you do get rhubarb from a friend or neighbor, it’s always good form to make a little something to pass back as a thank you.
As far as the strawberries, they are so often on sale around any spring or summer holiday, I tend to hold off on my Strawberry cravings until they’re at a low. Check your Buyer’s Clubs or Aldi, too, for great pricing.
I usually pick up my sugar at Aldi and you Buyer’s Club will have great prices, too. If those aren’t an option for you pick up sugar in quantity during the fall/winter holiday sales or prior to Easter when sugar will be at a low.
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
- 10 ounces rhubarb, frozen or fresh, 6 to 8 stalks in 1/2″ pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 pint (8 ounces) strawberries, hulled and sliced in half or 1/4’s
Bring rhubarb, sugar, and 1/4 cup water to a simmer in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until rhubarb is tender, but not yet falling apart. Stir in strawberries and cook until the berries are softened, a minute or two more. Continue to cook until desired consistency. Serve the sauce warm, at room temperature or cold as desired.
This sauce keeps well three or four days, covered and refrigerated. May be reheated gently over low heat or brought to room temperature before serving.