If you’re looking to reduce waste in your kitchen, it’s time to get to know the delight that is compotes. Making a compote is the perfect way to use up fruit that has gotten mushy or that you have a lot of, and it’s also the perfect thing to make out of the fruit you froze over the summer! Whether you are creating a compote from fresh or frozen fruit, it’s a delicious spread that can be customized based on whatever you have on hand, and it the perfect topping for so many meals. More on that in a bit.
What is a compote?
A compote is kind of like a chunky jam. You can make it with nearly any fruit (frozen, fresh, or even dried fruit!) and it’s mixed with sweetener and some water to cook down into a delicious, syrupy, fruity topping or spread.
Some of my favorite fruits to make into a compote include apples, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries, berries of any kind (blueberry is my personal fave), and sometimes I even like to get a little wild and combine different fruits into one compote. I mean … blueberries and peaches are like ice cream and sprinkles, no?
Often I add herbs and spices into compotes — cinnamon is the most common, but I also love adding cardamom, ground ginger, cloves, and other warming fall spices. A splash of lemon juice and/or zest can really bring out the flavor as well.
Compotes last for about a week or two in the fridge, or you can divide it into smaller portions and freeze it in a Stasher bag or jar for future use. That is, if you don’t eat it all right away. Since it only takes 15-20 minutes to make, it’s easy to whip up a compote whenever, especially if you already have frozen fruit on hand that’s been cut up.
What do you do with a compote once you made it? One of my favorite things about compotes is that they are such a simple and easy way to add extra flavor and sweetness to recipes. Here are some of my top ways to enjoy it, followed by an easy, delicious end-of-summer cardamom peach compote recipe.
As a topping for chia seed pudding or oatmeal
You can either mix in your compote directly into your chia seed pudding as it sets, or into your oatmeal as it’s cooking, or use it as a topping once it’s ready (or… both?!). It’s a great way to add fruit without it being raw, as well as sweetness. I usually add syrup, fruit, and cinnamon to oatmeal, so using a compote takes care of that all at once!
On top your toast
Easy peasy, spread some compote on a slice of toast and you have a quick breakfast or snack. I’ve been really into peach and cheese (vegan or not!) toast lately.
Use it in baking
Compotes can serve as a filling in baked goods, or even as a filling between cake layers! Substitute a blueberry compote for blueberries in a muffin recipe or scones, and add some extra flavor.
As a parfait
What’s better than a yogurt bowl with granola? A yogurt bowl with granola and compote! It’s the perfect sweeter that adds some extra flavor. Mix it all together or layer it in a parfait and await the compliments for how fancy you are in the kitchen.
On top pancakes, waffles, or french toast
Instead of syrup on your pancakes, waffles, and french toast, how about compote? It already is made with syrup, but it adds some extra flavor and excitement.
Make an ice cream sundae
You can either enjoy a drizzle of compote straight from the fridge onto your ice cream, or mix things up by heating it up first and having a bit of a sundae situation. Yum.
As the base of a cobbler
Having company over and want to make the easiest dessert? You can use your pre-made compote as the fruit base in a cobbler recipe. Now all you have to do is add the topping! Or , make it super easy and heat it up, add a scoop of ice cream and a handful of granola and you have a deconstructed, no-extra-effort cobbler.
Throw it in a smoothie
While you can use fresh or frozen fruit in a smoothie, adding your compote to your smoothie gives it some extra sweetness.
Add it to a cocktail or mocktail
Compote ain’t just for breakfasts and desserts— we are talking about the star of a cocktail party as well! Use your compote as a key ingredient in a signature cocktail— it easily and effortlessly adds a deep flavor and sweetness to whatever alcohol you pair it with. Or make a mocktail with compote and seltzer!
Use it as the base for ice pops
Mix your compote with your favorite yogurt, nut milk, or fruit juice and freeze in popsicle molds to make an easy, delightful ice pop!
Recipe: Easy Cardamom Peach Compote
I love this recipe when you have a bunch of peaches to use, or as an easy way to utilize peaches you froze from the summer! The ratios can be adjusted based off what you have on hand, and it’s easy to make your own. Use whatever sweetener you like (though I recommend not boiling honey since it will kill off all the lovely benefits), fruit you like, herbs and spices, etc. You really can’t mess this up.
- 3 large or 4 medium peaches (about 3 cups chopped up), fresh or frozen
- Juice of half of a lemon
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of pink Himalayan salt (or any good quality salt)
What you do:
- Chop up the peaches, removing the pit and dicing into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Add the peaches to a pot with the remaining ingredients, mixing it all up.
- Bring to a light boil on medium and turn the heat down to low, simmering for about 10-15 minutes until the water has cooked down into a syrup.
- Enjoy! Top on oatmeal, pancakes, chia seed pudding, or whatever your heart desires. Or store it in a sealed container for up to two weeks in the fridge.
This post (and amazing recipe!) was written by Sara Weinreb. She is the host of the Medium Well podcast, sustainability and design thinking consultant, contributor at Forbes, and shares it all on Instagram @saraweinreb.
Want to join the #StasherSquad? Follow us on Instagram and show us how you're using your Stasher bags to help reduce single-plastic use!