If you have fresh rhubarb, then the simplest (and arguably most delicious way) to enjoy it is to make it into rhubarb compote. Compote is a term that basically means rustic sauce made from simmered fruit. In the case of this recipe, I’ve added in fresh ginger, a touch of cardamom and it is sweetened, naturally, with honey. It makes the perfect topping for Greek yogurt, pancakes or ice cream. In today’s post, I have all the details on how to make it perfectly. Plus if you are a fan of canning, I have instructions for how to preserve it in jars too!

a glass with yogurt topped with compote with a spoon in it

This post contains affiliate links.

Why We Love This Rhubarb Compote

It almost seems criminal how easy it is to whip up a batch of rhubarb compote. There really is nothing to it! Simply chop the rhubarb, toss it into a pot with some honey and a little spice and simmer it until it is soft. Done!

What you get is luscious thick spoonable fruit for enjoying over yogurt, to stir into cocktails or enjoy with ice cream. I’ve also been known to top my oatmeal pancakes with it or used it to fill my whole-wheat crepes. If you can it in jars, it makes a lovely gift from the kitchen!

The flavor of rhubarb compote is something to behold! It is tart and floral with the lemony brightness of rhubarb.

Now, if you haven’t had rhubarb before, know that it is shockingly sour and has light astringency. BUT! Once that sour taste is cut with honey, you can really taste the flavor of it: and I can only describe it like sun-warmed hay!

In other words, a jar of this rhubarb compote is spring in a jar!

So get out your apron and a large pot, and let’s cook up a batch of rhubarb compote together. Read on for step-by-step instructions for making it, and if you want to preserve it in jars, I have canning instructions as well.

Ingredients For Rhubarb Compote

rhubarb and honey with spices for compote

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is in season in springtime from April through June. It is grown in a large perennial plant tipified with thick red stalks and large green leaves that look similar to Swiss Chard. The stalks look almost like red celery and can vary from only faintly pinkish green to deep ruby color.

The greens of rhubarb are toxic and should be removed. Look for stalks of rhubarb that have not dried on the but ends, and are not slimy or showing signs of rot.

If you grow rhubarb yourself, make sure to wash it well before storing it, as the soil will cause it to rot more quickly.

For this recipe you will need 6 cups of chopped rhubarb. If your stalks are 1-inch thick or wider, you can cut them in half lengthwise first, then chop them into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Honey

I tested this with regular sugar and I have also made it with maple syrup. But my favorite is with honey as it compliments the rhubarb so nicely. If you use regular sugar, make sure to taste it, and possibly add a couple of tablespoons more, as honey is sweeter than sugar. I also keep this compote on the tart side, since that is the beauty of rhubarb, but if you like it a little sweeter, taste it and add up to 1 more tablespoon of honey.

Spices

This compote is absolutely delish without any spices at all, and if you are a purist, then by all means, skip the spices! But if you like a little interesting hit of flavor, then I recommend a little ginger and cardamom, two spices that have a strong affinity for rhubarb. I also add in a pinch of salt, because I think this actually makes the compote a little sweeter tasting.

Step-By-Step Instructions For Making The Compote

stirring the compote ingredients in the pot and then cooking it

Step 1: Combine Ingredients

Stir rhubarb, honey, ginger, cardamom and salt together in a large saucepan. Choose a larger pot than you think you need, as the compote will foam up as it simmers, and can boil over easily if it is in a smaller pot.

Note: If you are planning to can this compote, you’ll need to get your pot of water on to boil immediately as that can take longer than making the compote start to finish! More on that below.

Step 2: Cook the Compote

Set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often until mixture simmers, reduce heat to low, cover and cook, removing lid to stir often. When the rhubarb has broken down and become chunky, about 10 to 15 minutes turn off the heat. Keep piping hot for canning, or cool and keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

rhubarb compote in a jar with a spoon taking a scoop out

Step-By-Step Instructions For Canning Rhubarb Compote

sterilize jars and heat lids

Step 1: Boil Water in Canning Pot and Sterilize Jars

Prepare a boiling canning pot. This is the one I have that came with the wide-mouth funnel, canning tongs and magnetic lid lifter. When the water boils, sterilize four half pint jars for 3 minutes. Set a clean dish cloth next to canning area.

Step 2: Prep Jar Lids

Meanwhile, wash lids and rings with hot soapy water. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add jar lids and rings, cover and remove from the heat. This is an important step as the heat activates the sealing compound in the lid, but you do not want to boil it.

adding the compote to the sterilized jars

Step 3: Add Hot Compote To Sterilized Jars

When the rhubarb is done, pull the sterilized jam jars out of the boiling water and set on the clean dish cloth. Using a canning funnel if desired, ladle or spoon the hot rhubarb compote into the sterilized half pint jars.

If it hasn’t boiled when the compote is finished, that’s okay! Simply wait for the water to boil, sterilize the jars and then rewarm the compote to simmering when you get to this step.

Step 4: Add Lids and Rings

Wipe jar rims with a damp paper towel to make sure there is no trace of compote on the rim, and ensure that there is enough headspace in each jar (1/2-inch.) Place the lid on each jar and screw on rings until they are finger tight.

processing the jars of compote in the boiling water canner and then removing the jars with tongs

Step 5: Process Jars In Boiling Water Canner

Place the jars on the rack and lower the jars gently into the boiling water (water should cover by more than an inch.) Cover the pot and process at a full boil for 10 minutes.

Step 6: Remove Jars with Tongs

Remove the jars from the canning bath with canning tongs. Place on the prepared cloth. Let sit undisturbed for 12 hours. If the lids do not create a seal, refrigerate and store for only 2 weeks. Properly sealed jars can be stored up to 1 year.

four jars of compote on a table with chopped rhubarb

FAQs and Expert Tips

What is rhubarb compote made of?

Essentially rhubarb compote can be made with just rhubarb and sugar. This version is sweetened with unrefined honey and also includes spices.

What is a rhubarb compote?

Compote is a thick fruit dessert or sauce made from rhubarb cooked with sugar, honey or syrup. It has the consistency of slightly chunky applesauce.

How long with rhubarb compote last?

Because it is high in acid and sugar, rhubarb compote can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If it shows signs of mold, discard it. Jarred compote can be kept for one year.

Expert Tips For Canning

If you are new to canning, you may be a little nervous. Not to worry, there are many resources available!

a jar of compote with chopped rhubarb on a wooden cutting board

More Recipes To Try

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
a glass with yogurt topped with compote with a spoon in it

Rhubarb Compote


Description

If you have fresh rhubarb, then the simplest (and arguably most delicious way) to enjoy it is to make it into rhubarb compote. Compote is simply a fancy term that basically equates to a rustic “sauce” made from simmered fruit. In the case of this recipe, I’ve added in fresh ginger, a touch of cardamom and it is sweetened, naturally, with honey. It makes the perfect topping for Greek yogurt, pancakes or ice cream. In today’s post, I have all the details how to make it perfectly, and if you are a fan of canning, I have instructions for how to preserve it in jars too!


Ingredients

Scale

7 cups chopped rhubarb (about 2 pounds)

1 cup honey (plus 1 tablespoon to taste)

1 teaspoon grated ginger root, optional

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional

pinch salt


Instructions

  1. Stir rhubarb, honey, ginger, cardamom and salt together in a large saucepan.
  2. Set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often until mixture simmers, reduce heat to low, cover and cook, removing lid to stir often. When the rhubarb has broken down and looks like chunky applesauce, about 10 to 15 minutes, turn off heat.

Notes

To Process Jars of Compote In Hot Water Canner

(Note: This process takes about an hour including bringing the pot to a boil.)

  1. Prepare a boiling canning pot and sterilize four half-pint jars for 3 minutes. Set a clean dishcloth next to the canning area.
  2. Meanwhile, wash lids and rings with hot soapy water. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add jar lids and rings, cover and remove from the heat.
  3. When the rhubarb is done, pull the sterilized jam jars out of the boiling water and set on the clean dishcloth. If it hasn’t boiled when the compote is finished, that’s okay! Simply rewarm the compote to simmering when you get to this step. Using a canning funnel if desired, ladle or spoon the hot rhubarb compote into the sterilized half-pint jars.
  4. Wipe jar rims with a damp paper towel to make sure there is no trace of compote on the rim, and ensure that there is enough headspace in each jar (1/2-inch.) Place the lid on each jar and screw on rings until they are finger tight.
  5. Place the jars on the rack and lower the jars gently into the boiling water (water should cover by more than an inch.) Cover the pot and process at a full boil for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the jars from the canning bath with canning tongs. Place on the prepared cloth. Let sit undisturbed for 12 hours. If the lids do not create a seal, refrigerate and store for only 2 weeks. Properly sealed jars can be stored up to 1 year.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 77 calories
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Keywords: rhubarb compote,rhubarb compote with honey,canned rhubarb compote