Vacation is for keeping it simple with easy and versatile dishes – especially when you spend your work week decorating lavish treats as I do. After a strictly enforced four-day hiatus from cooking during a recent holiday in Maine, I eventually returned to the kitchen with this tasty one-pot compote. I drew on frozen rhubarb reserves from an earlier pillage of my brother’s nearby patch, making the recipe even easier. But fresh rhubarb is fabulous too, of course. I slather this compote on everything – toast, ice cream, even grilled meat (it’s not overly sweet). And it’s also great when incorporated into baked sweets like my Sour Cream Rhubarb-Streusel Coffee Cake.

Rhubarb Compote All Ready to Go

About 1 cup (8 oz/227 g)

Prep Talk
  • The rhubarb can be harvested, diced, and frozen for several months; then thawed in the fridge when you’re ready to use it.
  • Alternatively, make tons of compote with fresh rhubarb and freeze the surplus until you’re ready to eat it. There are many ways to make this recipe work with your schedule!
  • 1 pound (454 g) rhubarb stalks, diced into small (1-in/2.5-cm) pieces (about 3 1/2 cups total), divided
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced orange zest (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peeled and finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup (4.0 oz/118 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice (or substitute up to 1/4 cup/2.0 oz/59 ml water if you’d prefer a less orange-y compote)
  • 1/4 cup (1.6 oz/45 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 | Set aside 1 cup (4.6 oz/130 g) of the diced rhubarb for use in Step 2. Be sure to remove all rhubarb leaves (photo 1 in the gallery below), as they contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic in large quantity. Place the remaining ingredients (photo 2) in a large nonreactive (i.e., coated or stainless steel) saucepan (photo 3) and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.

2 | Reduce the heat to medium and cook the mixture, uncovered, about 25 to 30 minutes, or until most of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture is very thick. Add the reserved 1 cup rhubarb in the last 10 minutes of cooking and cook only until the rhubarb chunks are barely soft but still hold their shape. Note: You could add all of the rhubarb in Step 1, but I like the look of a more textured compote (photos 4 and 5), which is best achieved by reserving some rhubarb for the end.

3 | Cool the compote completely and store in an airtight (or well-wrapped) container in the fridge until ready to eat. Alternatively, freeze for longer periods as instructed in “Prep Talk”.