The Rhubarb Plant: One of my long-awaited yearly spring flings just happens to be with Rhubarb. I love rhubarb so much we named our dog Rhubarb. Did you know that one rhubarb planted in your garden will produce fruit every spring for 20 years or more? So go treat yourself and buy one. You can probably find one for around 10 dollars, which is a steal since buying fresh rhubarb at the grocers will cost you a pretty penny. One of the easiest ways to use up my rhubarb, is in a compote, which can be served over ice cream, granola, yogurt, or cake. It also freezes like a dream for up to 3 months.
Berry Vanilla Rhubarb Compote
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 Tbsp vanilla (extract added in Step 4.)
- 3 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 star anise
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1½ cup berries (strawberry, blueberry or raspberry)
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1½ cup pitted cherries
- 1-2 tbsp orange flower water or 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) orange oil or zest of half an orange (optional)
- Split the vanilla pod lengthwise with a paring knife and, using the back of your knife, scrape out the seeds from inside. Add scraped seeds and pod into a medium-sized saucepan.
- Add chopped rhubarb, honey, water, lemon juice, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger slices. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 3–5 minutes, or until rhubarb starts to soften.
- Stir in berries and cherries and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Rhubarb and berries will break down. Cherries should remain intact but tender.
- Remove from heat and stir in the orange flower water, oil or zest (if using). Remove the vanilla pod, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze.
COOL FACT: ORANGE FLOWER WATER MAY BE EVEN COOLER THAN ORANGE OIL
Orange flower water (or orange blossom water) captures the essence of orange blossoms. It is wonderfully fragrant, almost like perfume. It can be found in most gourmet food shops and is something I do like to splurge on. A bottle will last me up to a year and for any foodie, it makes a great gift.