Rhubarb compote is an early spring staple, and a wonderful way to make use of that first vegetable in many gardens. Though rhubarb is indeed a vegetable, we most often use it in desserts and other sweet recipes – but it is excellent in a spring salad.
Try your compote swirled into a cake or muffins, over ice cream, or topping porridge or rice pudding. If you love rhubarb, you’ll love this.
This is not a canning recipe, specifically, but if you’re an experienced canner you could perhaps use a pressure canner. I can’t speak to the safety or storage time for this recipe because it doesn’t use sugar, but it freezes well.
I use a bit of red beetroot for a nice pink colour with green rhubarb – see below for more on that.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Rhubarb: if it’s quite late in the season, you may want to peel it to avoid any stringiness.
- Red beetroot: for forced or very red rhubarb, this can be left out. It adds colour only.
- Honey: for a vegan version, use maple syrup or cane sugar. I use honey because it’s available locally.
Step by Step
Step 1: add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan.
Step 2: cook until the rhubarb has broken down, about ten minutes.
Step 3: for a stronger red colour, let it cool with the beetroot in the pot.
Step 4: store in lidded jars or other containers.
If you’d like to flavour your compote, vanilla and fresh ginger are my top recommendations. Add to your preference, starting with about a teaspoon each (they combine well, if you’d like to add both).
For a chunkier compote, skip the blending step. If you prefer it to be quite smooth, blend with an immersion blender or small mixer, or press through a fine sieve.
How to Store
Storage: this will keep for about a week in the refrigerator in a sealed container. As mentioned, I can’t advise on canning this recipe.
Freezing: transfer cooled compote to an airtight container and freeze for up to one month.
Red beetroot acts as a natural food colouring for this rhubarb compote. Since raspberries, and even strawberries, aren’t yet in season in northern climates when rhubarb first arrives, it’s a good way to add colour without altering the flavour.
The compote might look a little greenish, or very pale pink, after cooking – in that case, simply leave the beet in the pot while it cools. It will continue to add colour. Be sure to stir regularly during cooking to distribute the red colouring, too.
In my experience, it doesn’t affect the flavour at all. You may be more used to strawberry rhubarb rather than straight rhubarb, but the beet does not add any earthiness or other undertones, as it’s left in large pieces and removed soon after cooking.
More Sweet Rhubarb Recipes
Rhubarb Almond Cake
Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Dairy Free Rhubarb Curd
Rhubarb Almond Tart
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- 200 grams rhubarb, roughly chopped 4-5 stalks
- 1 small red beet peeled and quartered (optional, for colour only)
- Juice of a lemon ~3 tablespoons
- 2-3 tablespoons honey to taste
- Add the rhubarb, beet, lemon juice, and honey to a small saucepan.200 grams rhubarb, roughly chopped, 1 small red beet, Juice of a lemon, 2-3 tablespoons honey
- Cover and heat over high-medium. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to distribute the colour.
- After 10 minutes, the rhubarb should be cooked and the compote should be an orange-pink colour. To increase the pink, leave the beet pieces in while it cools.
- Optionally, puree with an immersion blender or my mashing well with a fork, after removing the beet.
- Set aside to cool fully before transferring to a container and refrigerating. The compote will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator and freezes well.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
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