Blossoms blooming, bees buzzing and flowers busting forth are promises of Spring but for me the first rhubarb of the season is a sure sign that Spring has officially arrived. I was in Victoria last weekend and picked up my first rhubarb of the season at the Moss St Market. I trucked it back on the ferry along with an armload of spring vegetables for the week of cooking ahead. This year I decided that the first rhubarb of the season deserved a very simple preparation in the form of a compote.
Four simple ingredients is all it takes to make this compote. Rhubarb of course, honey, vanilla bean and fresh orange juice. I love the combination of strawberries and rhubarb but decided this time to leave out the strawberries to really allow the flavour of the rhubarb to shine. The vanilla bean is such a beautiful pairing with the rhubarb and the black speckles look gorgeous against the light pink of the compote. Of course use what ingredients you have at home and sweeten the compote to your liking. This is simply one version of many you could create.
Rhubarb compote is perfect served over yogurt, ice cream, granola, on top of waffles, layered in a parfait or as a topping for a spring shortcake or pavlova or eaten as I often do straight out of the jar with a spoon.
Be sure to take a peak out in your garden or at a farmers market near you for the first rhubarb of the season. It truly is a spring delight.
- 1 pound (450g) rhubarb, washed and chopped into smallish pieces
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (juice of 1 medium orange)
- ¼ cup wildflower honey (or other local honey of your choice)
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and seeds scraped out
- Place the chopped rhubarb, orange juice, honey, vanilla seeds and pod into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for 10 -15 minutes or until the rhubarb is cooked down and the compote is slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat and let cool. Remove the vanilla pod. Use right away or store in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.