Summer Fruit Compote

It’s officially summer in the Northern hemisphere, which means it’s time to coat your entire face with the luscious juices of ripe summer fruit. One way to achieve this is to go to the farmers market, get yourself a basket of strawberries, and faceplant in it on the way home. Another, slightly more classy, way is to make fruit compote.

Fruit compote is essentially a chunky sauce made from fresh fruit. Think of it as the easier, much more approachable cousin of jam. It comes together in 15 minutes and you can eat it with ice cream, waffles, pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal, or nothing at all. That’s right, it’s so good, you might want to just eat it with a spoon. (And no one can judge you for that, because it’s fruit.)

To make the best compote, buy the best fruit you can find: that means ripe, in-season, and if at all possible, local. You do not want those rock-hard strawberries that were bred for durability in transit, not flavor. Instead, opt for the tiny, jewel-like berries that are $5/quart at the local farmer’s market. If you can’t find those, frozen berries work too.

In lieu of berries, you can also use stone fruit like nectarines and peaches. And cherries! Just make sure you remove the pits first.

When shopping for fruit, let your fingertips and your nose be your guide. Press on it gently and inhale—if it smells good, it has lots of flavor and will make an excellent compote.

Finally, let it be known that berries and stone fruit are part of the “Dirty Dozen.” These 12 fruits and vegetables absorb the most pesticides, so if possible, prioritize buying organic versions of these. Your body will thank you, and so will the land.

Once you got your fruits, let’s compote!

Tools Needed:

  • medium pot
  • wooden stirring spoon

Ingredients Needed:

  • summer fruits such as berries, peaches, nectarines, cherries (can be frozen) 1-2 pounds
  • sugar optional

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  • I used sour cherries and an unusual kind of sour green apples (they were pale green) from a farmers market in Baltimore. I was thinking “pie filling” and probably cooked everything a little too hard, but it came out really tasty. As an impatient person, thus far I’ve eaten it straight out of the jar, and made a cherry soda with it.

  • You guys have both cheesecake AND ice cream? This is making me seriously rethink my life decisions. Anyway nice job on combining all the berries that look similar. Next time see if you can find the elusive white raspberry (yes, that’s a thing). You get 3 points: +1 for completing the mission, +1 for helpful details, and +1 for being first. Yay!

  • Congrats on your first mission! This looks like a wonderfully healthy breakfast. You get +1 point for completing the mission! Hope it was fun :)

  • Looks delicious! What a treat with the waffles. That’s the beauty of making compote—you don’t need to add as much sugar as when making jam because you don’t need it to set, and you get to control the sweetness. You get 2 points: +1 for doing the mission and +1 for the helpful comment about sweetness. PS: Next time, if you have too many raspberries, I can help you with that. ;)

  • Yum! Cherries are the best! Hope you got to try it on ice cream before it all disappeared :) Although it’s not too much work to make some extra, now that you know how to do it! You get 2 points: +1 for completing the mission and +1 for the helpful comment about sugar!

  • I used a combination of fresh and frozen fruit to make a cherry compote for me and my cherry-obsessed bf. I added 1 tbsp of sugar for 3 cups of fruit, and it was just right on pancakes. With a little extra water I think it would have been even better and more syrup-like. I can’t wait to try it on ice cream–that is, if one of us doesn’t finish it straight out of the jar first!

  • Ta da! Raspberry compote on waffle with yogurt. Delicious. We are at the point where we need to pick our raspberries every day (I know…what a problem to have). The compote came together really quickly and it wasn’t necessary to add too much sugar…well, maybe since there was maple syrup too on the waffle. I like to keep it on the tart side and then people can add more sugar or honey to suit their tastes.

  • We did a raspberry and blackberry compote. It turned out well and make both our ice cream and cheesecake delicious! Next time, I’d probably skip the water when using raspberries. As soon as I started mashing the raspberries (which was well before the pot was warm), I ended up with quite a bit of water. I actually boiled some of it off in the hopes of getting a slightly thicker liquid. We also only added a touch of sugar, which makes this excellent over sweet desserts. However, I’ll probably add more sugar next time to make it less tart for pairing with waffles or pancakes.