By Julie Mendoza, Master Food Volunteer
When you close your eyes and think about early summer foods, what comes to mind first? Strawberries?
If so, I’ll bet you also associate it with a particular dessert. For me, strawberries are my early summer fruit and strawberry shortcake is my first memory (other than sitting in a field and just eating them right off the plant!) The light Angel food cake piled high with berries and whipped cream is a favorite childhood memory. This summer I’d like to suggest another equally old time favorite dessert as an alternative. I’ve rediscovered a recipe and have made it several times. I’m speaking of Strawberry Rhubarb compote. It’s so easy to make and is laser sharp in focusing on the ingredients: Strawberries and Rhubarb. In addition to taste, both fruits bring enormous nutritional benefits. They’re rich in B-complex vitamins as well as being high in fiber. Right now in our farmers markets – boxes of luscious strawberries are for sale. They are the sweetest sun ripened fruit you’ll find in the market this month and as fast as they arrived is as fast as we’ll find the season has ended. In another few weeks, if we’d like more, our only choice will the local grocery store. So seize the moment and celebrate the season now. The recipe below is an adaptation of one offered by David Lebovitz www.davidlebovitz.com
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
This compote is wonderful by itself in a pretty glass bowl or used as topping on Greek yogurt, ice cream and even Angel Food Cake!
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 pieces of candied ginger, minced fine (wonderful but optional)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1/3 honey (or use additional sugar)
- 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and, depending on size, cut in half or quartered.
- Combine water, sugar and honey in a non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil so the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Add rhubarb and minced candied ginger. Cook over low heat until just tender. Depending on the rhubarb it may be only about five minutes or so.
- Remove from heat and add the strawberries. The strawberries will gently cook as it rests.
- Cool and either refrigerate for later enjoyment or serve.
Note: If rhubarb is sold in a different quantity, proportions can be adjusted. Amount of sugar may vary based on the sweetness of particular fruit.