Rhubarb compote is one of the great classics. When the rhubarb is cook long enough to soften, but not too long to turn into purée, the flavours blend harmoniously while the natural acidity of the fruit fades away. The compote should have some pieces left with a dark pink hue.
To make the compote you will need:
4 cups rhubarb, ends trimmed and all traces of leaves removed, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 strip lemon rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. In a large non reactive sauce pan, mix together the rhubarb, sugar, lemon rind and juice from the lemon. Let stand at room temperature until the rhubarb releases some juice, about one hour.
2.Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, simmer, stirring gently until rhubarb is soft and some whole pieces remain, about 10- 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and cool completely before serving.
Ginger, orange, angelica, vanilla, cardamom and mint are the traditional flavorings for rhubarb, especially in jam-making. If you want to experiment with one of them, simply add it to the sauce pan at the start of the cooking time.
Dishes where you can use compote rhubarb: (other than the traditional rhubarb pie!)
Ricotta cheesecake with rhubarb compote
With a spoon straight from the jar
Vanilla yogurt , honey and rhubarb compote
Apple and rhubarb compote crisp
Rhubarb, strawberry and mint cobbler
Rhubarb compote, caramel and walnuts
Rhubarb compote and crème fraîche
The scarlet rhubarb with its large wavy-edged leaves is a vegetable, though it is usually eaten as a fruit. Wild rhubarb is native to Asia and rhubarb root has remained a prized medicinal herb for thousands of years. Rhubarb is one of the first vegetables to sprout in the spring bringing the traditional rhubarb pie, but it was not until the early 1800s that rhubarb recipes began to appear in cookbooks. Only the stalks are eaten. The leaves have been associated with cases of poisoning due to their high concentration of oxalic acid, and must not be eaten.