Sweet and pleasantly tart, with slices of strawberries swimming in a thick, slightly sweet syrup, this all-natural, easy-to-make compote is delicious on its own, or served on top of just about anything sweet: ice cream, cake, pancakes, oatmeal…
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 to 7 minutes
Total Time: 10 to 12 minutes
This strawberry compote is a must-have in your cooking repertoire. It embodies the holy trinity of a recipe that deserves to be in regular rotation: it’s fast, easy and versatile. Do you have strawberries that’re on the wrong side of ripe? Turn them into a compote (not using any ones that have gone fuzzy, of course)! Fresh, ripe or frozen, you can turn them into a compote. It’s basically the lazy person’s preserves, and has a lot of the benefits of jam without all the hassle.
You’ll simply cut your strawberries up into thick slices, toss them in with all of the other ingredients, and let the whole mix simmer on the stove for a few minutes until the sauce thickens into a syrupy consistency. It’s as simple as that! Then you have lots of options for using it. It can be eaten as is (or with a dollop of whipped cream) for a light-yet-decadent-tasting dessert, or can be used as a topping.
Strawberry compote will be your new best friend at breakfast—it really shines on pancakes, waffles, toast or oatmeal. Compote has a few advantages over using sliced fresh strawberries. Since the berries have softened (thanks to the heat of cooking), they’re easier to cut through. And the compote sauce acts as a sort of glue. Perhaps I’m especially uncoordinated, but any time there are fresh strawberries on a confection, I have the hardest time getting them to cooperate with my optimal flavor distribution plan. They slip and slide around too much. << Life’s serious issues here.
Plus, eating fresh strawberries is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to flavor. When at the perfect ripeness, they are divine in both taste and texture. But on either side of that golden mean, you find sourness or squishiness—neither one of which are terribly appealing. Compote smooths out any tartness, and since it’s strawberries cooked down in a syrupy sauce, you’re not exactly looking for that perfectly crisp fruit texture. Plus, you’ll get a little boost of sweetness, thanks to the wonderful science of maceration!
The ratio of ingredients in this recipe also works really well for other berries—I’ve made mixed berry compotes, as well as blueberry and raspberry. Just depends on what you’re in the mood for and what needs to be used up in your fridge! You’ll find that this recipe is ultra-forgiving of experimentation, and the results will most likely be delicious. Making a compote will add about a week to the life of your berries, or 3 months if you choose to freeze it*.
*3 months is the bog standard recommendation for freezing freshness. I will admit to thawing and devouring frozen homemade fruit compotes that were upwards of eight months old. No regrets. As always, choose your own adventure.
Nutritionally, this strawberry compote is among the all-stars for a sweet treat. It’s low calorie, has no fat, sodium or cholesterol and provides 40% of your daily Vitamin C requirement. Plus, it’s low-sugar (at a skimpy 5 g per serving). Thanks to this, while it’s cozy and satisfying served warm by itself, it really shines as a low-calorie topping choice. Consider using compote as an icing substitute on cakes, or as a syrup substitute on your favorite breakfast treat or ice cream!