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Rhubarb Compote

rhubarb stalks and fruits

Rhubarb originates from Asia and was introduced to North American in late 18th century. Botanically, it is a vegetable but is considered a fruit because of its use. Rhubarb contains a large amount of oxalic acid, a poison to animals, which concentrates in the wide leaves but the amount is much lower in the fleshy stalks. Thus, the leaves should never be used and the stalks are cut from the plant to used in cooking, drinks and folk medicines. The thick, tender stalks are too tart to eat raw and are often cooked in pie or in marmalade. The preparation is easy - washing is needed, peeling is not needed, and triming slightly the top and bottom of the stalks.

Compote is a medieval way to cook fruits in sugary water to promote health. Besides boiling rhubarb in water and sugar to make a drink, compote is another quick recipe. Notes: the word originates from French word compote which has a French synonym marmelade, but the equivalent of English marmalade is marmelade d'orange.

Spicy Rhubarb and Berries Compote

rhubarb compote
2 cups rhubarb, chopped to 2-cm pieces
1 cup strawberries, sliced
0.5 cup blueberries
0.5 cup blackberrries
1 rind orange peel, sliced to very thin slices
0.5 cup sugar
2 cup water
2 tablespoons brandy
2 2-inch cinnamon sticks
1 2-inch pared gingeroot, sliced
6 whole cloves
2 green cardamom grains


1. Place spices in a small saucepan; add water and sugar and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Keep boiling but without stirring for 5 minutes.
2. Turn the heat off. Cool the mixture slightly. Pour the mixture into a container over a sieve. Discard the boiled spices.
3. Place the rhubarb, strawberries, berries and orange peels in a glass bowl. Pour the still hot mixture over the fruits. Add brandy and gently stir to combine.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to about 2 hours.
5. Serve cold (with optional whipped cream or vanilla yogurt).

Reference: Weight Watchers, Quick Success Program Cookbook, Jean Nidetch, Penguin Books Canada Limited, 1988.

Rhubarb and Fruit Compote

rhubarb-grape compote 2 cups rhubarb (1 lb or 4 stalks), chopped to 2-cm pieces
2 cups green seedless grapes
1 cup red reedless grapes
1 cup strawberries, quartered
0.5 cup blueberries
1 cup sugar
2 cup water

1/3 cup concentrate lemon juice (50 ml)
1 1-inch pared gingeroot
6 green cardamom grains


1. Place optional spices in a saucepan; add water and sugar and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Keep boiling but without stirring for 5 minutes.
2. Turn down the heat. Sieve out the ginger and cardamom seeds.
3. Place the rhubarb in the hot liquid and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Place all other fruits in; turn off the heat now or after 3 minutes.
5. Pour out everthing from the saucepan to a large container to cool.
6. Serve it warm or refrigerate it to serve cold.

Serving: 12 persons
Source: Gordon Li

Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote

475g (4 cups) chopped rhubarb
110 g (1 / 2 cup) sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
250g (2 cups) sliced strawberries


1. In a saucepan, combine rhubarb (pieces cut in 2 cm), sugar, water and grated fresh ginger.
2. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.
3. Remove from heat and add sliced strawberries. Mix.
4. Serve hot or cold.

Option: Served with plain yogurt or vanilla iced milk.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes

Source: Translation of a recipe in Chatelaine magazine (17 May 2010)



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