British Desserts Recipes Spring Vegan Vegetarian

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.

79 replies on “Rhubarb, Strawberry and Orange Compote”

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!

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!

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)?

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.

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… 🙂

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!

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

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…

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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!

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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