I’ve fallen in love with my slowcooker. I don’t know why this took me so long. I have had to be a bit of a kitchen gadgets minimalist, cooking out of small apartment kitchens for much of my life. But I finally welcomed a slowcooker (a hand-me-down crock pot from my Step-Mom), and I am absolutely dependent on it. It got me through a busy and cold winter; that feeling of coming home to warming smells of bone broth or veggie curry or braising brisket is the definition of comfort and warmth.
With the warmer weather, however, I have not tucked the slowcooker away- far from it! I am loving making soups and stews with spring/early summer produce. As the weather warms up, the less I want to be directly over a hot stove, or an oven overheating my house. Not to mention that I am pregnant, and it’s going to be a hot, hot summer in preparation for my August baby! Speaking of pregnancy cravings, rhubarb is actually a great source of calcium! One cup of cooked rhubarb has 348mg of calcium- that’s more than a cup of milk! So I’m feeling pretty good about gorging on it while it’s in season (and putting some away for the winter!) So to the slowcooker- the ultimate tool for ‘set it and forget it’ meals and more. That said, in the days before I got my slowcooker, I used my ceramic-coated cast iron risotto pot. It retains heat well and does not scorch easily. Just set it on medium low heat and keep your eye on it.
Rhubarb is my obsession right now. Seriously. I eat about a pint of this compote each week. My husband does not share my love of rhubarb, so it’s mine all mine! It is the vegetable that gets treated like a royal fruit. As the first ‘fruit’ of the season, it gets devoured simply cooked and sweetened, mixed with berries in pies and crumbles, or my favourite childhood treat- dipped in sugar and eaten tart and raw in the garden. Rhubarb compote is how I am loving it right now; and I eat so much that I have tried this by making a larger batch in the slowcooker- yielding 5 pints (2 1/2 liters) of blushing, spiced, honey-sweetened compote heaven. I am going to try this with other fruits as they come through the summer and fall as well. I am daydreaming of chai-spiced pear compote over ice cream, ginger plum sauce (for sweet and savory applications), apple sauce with star anise, nectarines and peaches with rosewater and cardamom (those #2 or slightly damaged ones that are sometimes available from farmer’s markets are perfect for compote and jam)…
Compote is really just a fancy word for stewed fruit. It is usually somewhat rustic and chunky (a coulis is its more refined relative. A fruit puree, usually with seeds and fibers strained out). I don’t mind finding the odd cardamom pod in my compote, I just suck the rhubarb off of them and discard them. If you want the flavour without finding little cardamom pods everywhere, go for the ground cardamom seeds option. I only slightly (if at all) sweeten my compotes, so they are not suitable for regular canning. I freeze any leftovers instead- saving the taste of spring for a cold January night, hot rhubarb compote and homemade yogurt… So cozy!
Slowcooker Cardamom Rhubarb Compote
I tend to measure like a cook, (not a baker) so this is an estimate of amounts that I use to make this. Tinker with the sweetness and spiciness to suit your tastes.
3 liters of rhubarb, chopped into 1″ chunks (estimate 2.5kg or 5.5 lb)
3/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp whole green cardamom pods, crushed (or about 2 tsp ground cardamom seeds)
Optional: Cinnamon. Use couple of sticks or about 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
Wash, chop and fill your slowcooker to its max. (Mine is big-ish and can hold the amount above. You may have to tinker to accomodate how much rhubarb you have or how big your slowcooker is)
Add honey and spices
Put the lid on and turn om high
Cook for about 2-4 hours and stir to break up the rhubarb fibers
Taste and sweeten if needed
Spoon into clean mason jars (leaving 1″ headspace of you plan to freeze it)
Leave to cool with the lid off, then go ahead and lid it and put in the fridge or freezer
Lasts about a week-10 days in the fridge or months in the freezer
I like it plain, but often add it to my morning oatmeal with homemade yogurt and hemp seeds (pictured)
Warm and add to ice cream
Top our sourdough toast with nut butter and rhubarb compote
Serve with crackers and cheese
I use it to do a secondary fermentation with my kombucha too! Brew plain kombucha, add a few tablespoons of compote per 350ml bottle and decant kombucha into the bottle. Seal for a few days and you get a very fizzy rhubarb soda! (I put vanilla bean in a batch and nicknamed it ‘love potion’.