Rhubarb, Strawberry and Orange Compote

Since it’s coming to the end of the rhubarb season, I thought it best to give you lot a couple of recipes which include this fabulous vegetable. However, I’ve not always considered it fabulous; in my younger days it was looked upon, by me, as a most contemptible ingredient. To be fair, it is easy to see why, since rhubarb does have an inherently bitter component to its flavour; which is why it’s always cooked with sugar. Luckily, as I’ve grown older my tastes have come to love the tang which accompanies fresh, seasonal rhubarb. The less said about forced rhubarb, the better.

Unfortunately, our rhubarb plant didn’t produce anything this year. We suspect that it resides in rather the wrong part of the garden – its positioning shall be looked into for next year. Still, British rhubarb is very inexpensive at the moment – this batch came from Kent, weighed 450g and cost a mere £1.50. As you can imagine, it would have been rather difficult to pass up such an offer. Indeed, it has to be admitted that the British climate is incredibly conducive to furnishing our gardens and fridges with particularly sweet and juicy fruit. You’ll be glad to know that the strawberries used in this compote, the French word for ‘mixture’, also hail from the South-East of England. I’m sure you’ll see more of those sweet little berries in the very near future!

Bad news, the fruit wielded by our cherry tree has bitten the proverbial dust, a term made famous by the inimitable Queen. A week ago Britain found itself in the throes of an unseasonably hot period of weather and our tree, which vies for its water with a rather wild hedge (which will be done away with), became a little too thirsty. By the time we discovered that the tree’s foliage was in the midst of a ridiculously localised famine, indirect cherry genocide had occurred. It appears as though I shall have to purchase my cherries in order to make my jam – how sad.

Still, at least my rhubarb compote tasted bloody amazing! The key to achieving a good rhubarb compote is to add the sugar little by little, tasting as you go; this allows one to make sure it has a good balance between tangy and sweet. The strawberry and orange also have a hand in achieving this, but they also add a really delicious underlying flavour which supports the rhubarb, rather than disguises it. Enjoy! You’ll soon see what I did with this compote – that just piqued your excitement… right?!

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Orange Compote

Makes one large pot (500-600ml)


• 450g seasonal rhubarb, cut into 1 inch chunks

• 100g strawberries, halved

• 30-50g sugar, depending on the individual

• The juice and zest of 1 orange


1. This is SO simple. All one needs to do is cook down all of the above ingredients, adding the sugar to taste. Use a fairly gentle heat and cook for 5-10 minutes. You want the rhubarb to stay roughly in shape, but be soft enough to eat. The strawberries will break down, though one could add some at the end to mitigate that, if one wants to.

Cost: The entire pot of this compote should set one back no more than £2.20. Which is very cheap indeed, considering this large jar of rhubarb ‘mixture’ will last quite a while. Happily, its flavour goes a very long way.

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79 comments on “Rhubarb, Strawberry and Orange Compote

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller
    June 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Delicious combination.

  2. foodistherapy
    June 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Oh yum! I love rhubarb but hate that the season doesn’t last long! So sad about your cherries – my heart sank for you as I read that!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      I know, I wish it lasted longer. I have so many ideas. Thanks, Lauren.

  3. Peter - The Roaming GastroGnome
    June 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Very nice!

  4. Heather
    June 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    YES I was wondering what in the world would I do after I made it – maybe add it to a quick bread or muffins, I can’t wait to see what you have dine with yours!

  5. cookinginsens
    June 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Nice compote.

  6. arzea
    June 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I have never cooked with Rhubarb, but I think I will give this a try! It looks delicious and I love your little jar!

  7. Allotment adventures with Jean
    June 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Looks very tasty indeed. Must try this one. I would enjoy this piled up on a slice of hot toast for my breakfast.

  8. Shumaila
    June 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Only recently did I get to try rhubarb and loved it. This sounds so simple and would be perfect with some vanilla ice cream to beat the heat we are having in arizona!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Really?! Isn’t it so nice? It works very well with vanilla ice cream.

  9. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    June 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    It looks delicious! My husband would love this over his cereal in the mornings! Our rhubarb did brilliantly in the garden for a couple of years, but now seems to be really struggling. Not sure why. So sorry to hear about the cherries!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks, Celia! Ours is struggling a bit. People are coming up with such good ideas about what to do with it.

  10. Gabby @ the veggie nook
    June 7, 2012 at 12:05 am

    This looks awesome! So homey and the flavours are spot on for summer. So sorry about the cherry tree!

  11. Eat Healthy Be Happy
    June 7, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I remember my mom making strawberry rhubarb cobble when I was a kid, we had a plant out back. =)

    I feel like this would be great with some toast and tea in the morning. =)

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      That sounds yum! Something for the next season :D. Ooooh yum, I’ll have to try that.

  12. Nina
    June 7, 2012 at 4:11 am

    I’m waiting to take deliver of a rhubarb plant in the next few days. So I’ll squirrel this recipe away for Spring/Summer here in Canberra. Thanks so much for posting it.
    How long do you think the compote will last in the fridge for (assuming it’s not attacked by the hungry hoards first)?

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      Awesome! I hope you enjoy it. It’d last for a good month I’m sure.

  13. baconbiscuit212
    June 7, 2012 at 4:32 am

    Looks wonderful! Can’t wait to see what you cook up with the compote. Yum.

    Sorry to hear about the cherry-cide. That is so sad. Down with the hedge!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks, Daisy! You’ll see it soon enough I’m sure. I really have to chop it down. Good term by the way – cherry-cide.

  14. glutenfreehappytummy
    June 7, 2012 at 5:25 am

    oh yum! that looks delicious! and the color is outstanding! thanks for sharing!

  15. thyme (sarah)
    June 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I’m so sorry about your cherry tree…that must have been hugely disappointing. I saw this rhubarb chutney, though, and wanted to say that I made some last year to go with my pork chops. We were so delighted with the flavors and pairing it with meat was delicious. I wish we could find or grow rhubarb way down here in Texas, but it’s too hot.

  16. rationingrevisited
    June 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Yummm, will have to try this…. kids have requested I add it to some home made ice cream… might have to bend the rationing rules for an orange…. but it will be worth it 😀

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Yes! You must! It’s not essential, but definitely worth it.

  17. Willow
    June 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Mmm, I’m a sucker for strawberry and rhubarb anything! In fact… you and I must be on the same wave-length, because I just made strawberry rhubarb and orange crumble. Crazy!
    And I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your cherries… I had a friend with a cherry tree growing up, and they made some of the most fabulous pies! Perhaps I should look into getting one myself… 🙂

    • Cara
      June 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      I was just gonna say this! Creeeeeeeppppyyy. You 2 are reading each other’s mind, and in that case, Run Willow, RUN! 🙂

      • frugalfeeding
        June 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm

        Haha – It’s totally weird :D. She really should run… (that sounds like a threat actually)

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Haha – how strange 😀 As Cara says… run! I miss my cherries.

  18. thewholebagofchips
    June 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    This sounds wonderful! I love strawberry and rhubarb together but the addition of the orange flavor sounds heavenly as well. Thanks for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      Thanks! Orange is a great way to sweeten it a little.

  19. Sibella
    June 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Very nice! Made a similar compote last week and used it with semolina pudding..

  20. Shira
    June 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Just awesome! Would you believe we’ve been cupping coffees that taste like this exact dish? I adore stewed strawberry and rhubarb together Nick, your photos are superb today too!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Thanks, Shira… I;ve got no choice but to believe it :D. Thanks! I think they’re getting better.

  21. movita beaucoup
    June 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Cherry genocide has got to be the most underused phrase in food blogging. Well done, sir.

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Haha, thanks movita. I think I’m good at underused phrases.

  22. Korena in the Kitchen
    June 9, 2012 at 4:49 am

    I have been dreaming lately of vanilla ice cream topped with rhubarb sauce – this looks like it would be just the right kind of thing for that.

    My condolences for your cherry tree.

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Yes, in fact I used it for that! I know, it’s so sad…

  23. Stephanie
    June 9, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Looks delicious! I need to give rhubarb another chance…

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      You should, Stephanie – learn from me, I did.

  24. Just A Smidgen
    June 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I’ve come back to blogging at a most serendipitous time, I think. First things first.. you’d have loved rhubarb if you’d gone rampaging through neighbors gardens, stealing stalks of rhubarb and begging your mom to provide you with a cup of pure white sugar in which to dump your plundered stalks. Secondly.. I’d bought some rhubarb and strawberries to make a compote.. only to find the rhubarb sadly wilted (forgot it on the counter).. which saved me from making it without the third ingredient (oranges). Third and last.. I’ve just stripped a portion of my raised garden bare of shrubs and planted to wee rhubarb plants.. and I can’t wait to see this compote on my counter later this summer. (or does it take a year to get a good rhubarb bumper crop?) xo Smidge

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Oh yes, you have! It’s funny – my dad said the same thing about rhubarb just before you typed this. I have no idea about growing rhubarb :D. All I know is that you have to treat it mean and stab it…

  25. Sophie33
    June 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    It is such a classical combbination but i deeply love this tasty combo! 😉

  26. Food Stories
    June 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Enjoying your site so I’m nominating you for the Illuminating Blogger Award for informative, illuminating blog content. I know not everyone participates in blog awards but I hope you’ll at least check it out because it’s a great way to discover new blogs and meet new web friends. If you’re interested in participating, you can check out the details at my site …http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/ … Either way, hope you’re having a great day!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks! Perhaps one day I shall participate, though not at the moment.

      • Food Stories
        June 20, 2012 at 12:01 am

        No worries … feel free to jump in when and if you have the time 🙂

  27. egg me on
    June 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Whoa, rhubarb season is almost over? I haven’t even made anything with rhubarb yet. I’m dying to know what you did with this amazing-looking compote! Did you put it on ice cream? Make it into a cobbler? Come on … tell us!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Well, it is here. You’ll see soon enough 😀 Patience.

  28. annesturetucker
    June 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Fabulous compote! I love rhubarb and strawberries! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Aimee@clevermuffin
    June 12, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Shame about the cherry tree – but the compote look amazing :). You hardly see rhubarb at all in Australia, maybe too hot to grow it effectively?

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      A crying shame. I think that’s probably accurate, Aimee.

  30. sil86as2
    June 12, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Looks delicious! We used to have a combination of rhubarb and apple with custard when we were kids and it was always one of my favourites!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      Thanks! Yes, that’s a classic combo and one I intend to replicate.

  31. sybaritica
    June 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Haven’t had rhubarb in years … I’d love to try your recipe tho

  32. Karista
    June 15, 2012 at 12:04 am

    This looks fantastic! I think I’d even eat this over grilled poultry. 🙂 Biscuits (not the sweet kind) would be great too. Great pictures!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Yes, Karista! That would be lovely. Thanks 😀

  33. spree
    June 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Rhubarb such a favorite of mine and love what you’ve done with it here Nick!

  34. Riverside Farmers' Market
    June 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I have a lot of frozen rhubarb. Do you think it will work as well?

  35. cakeboule
    June 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Yum. I love rhubarb the rest of the family hate it – how uneducated are they! See I made the triple in normal style 🙂 But don’t they say good things come in 3’s oh no that’s bad things – oh well!

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