Rhubarb and Strawberry compote

By Rosana McPhee •

Rhubarb is a funny ingredient, although we consider it a fruit as it’s mainly used in sweet dishes, it’s technically a vegetable. Rosana explores the origins of this plant and shares a spicy recipe for rhubarb and strawberry compote



Rhubarbis a cool season, perennial plant that is very winter hardy and resistant to drought. Earliest records date back to 2700 BC in China where rhubarb was cultivated for medicinal purposes known then for its purgative qualities, an astringent tonic to the digestive system, when taken larger doses rhubarb acts as a very mild laxative.

A planting of rhubarb was recorded in Italy in 1608 and later in Europe. In 1777 it was recorded that an apothecary in Banbury, Oxfordshire, started the cultivation of rhubarb in England. Now-a-days, various types of rhubarb grow in different parts of the world.

Tips when using rhubarb from your garden
  • Trim leaves from stalk immediately.
  • Don’t use stalks from frost bitten plants.
  • Wash the stalks well

The first time I ever bought and cooked with rhubarb was back in 2011. I successfully reproduced BobBobRicard rhubarb martini. I still make those at home and they are very popular with my guests.

The other day I was about to make more rhubarb martini then at the last minute I had a change of heart. I had some strawberries and I thought it would be nice to combine both and make something spicy and jam-like, since I run out of jam too.

Rhubarb and Strawberry compote



· 95g caster sugar

· 150g chopped rhubarb

· 1 lemon, juiced

· 1 star anise

· 1 vanilla pod, halved and scraped

· 300g strawberries, cut into cubes

· 1 tsp pink peppercorns


Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat cook until the rhubarb is al dente. Lower the heat and simmer until the compote thickens. Remove from the heat and transfer to sterilised jars to cool.


Serving suggestion:

cream, roasted strawberries and simple sponge cake

Roasted strawberries

400g of strawberries

2 tbsp of granulated sugar

freshly grounded peppercorn

Pre heat the oven at 150C

Place the strawberries on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle over the sugar and season with lots of freshly ground black pepper. Roast very slowly in the oven for 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.


For more delicious rhubarb recipes visit Great British Chefs collection. What are some of your favourite dishes using rhubarb? Let us know here or over on Great British Chefs’ Facebook page.


Rosana McPhee

Rosana McPhee was born in Brazil and she has been living in London for the last 20 years.  She created a food blog at www.hotandchilli.com, where she writes about her adventures in food, including some ideas and recipes from her native Brazil. You can follow Rosana on Twitter: @Rosana_McPhee

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