The word compote comes to us through Latin and French roots and means mixture. The Middle English word would have been compost and by no means suggests this adventure is meant for the recycling bin.
Compote is cooked pieces of fruit with sweetener and very often additional flavourings, although it can also be made plain. These days served cold as a dessert, in other times it almost served the purpose of a sorbet ( as a palate cleaner), served at the beginning of a course. It has become very much a part of Jewish cooking as there is no dairy, easily accessible ingredients and it is inexpensive to prepare.
This is my family compote story. My grandmother was having a dinner, sometime after WWII and before 1952 when not much was available. There were either six or eight people at the table so at least two possibly three people between Omi at one end and my father at the other. It was the dessert course in the white linen tableclothed dining room and cherry compote was being served. They were non pitted cherries and proper etiquette said you gently put the cherry pit back on your spoon and returned it to your emptying dish. Now my grandmother was a pretty formal serious woman, especially around guests. Raised in a household with servants and rules at the beginning of the 1900`s, it wasn’t Downton Abbey but there were standards!
Dad opens his mouth and dares her with his eyes to spit the cherry pit the length of the table. Everyone else is concentrating on dessert and conversation and she does it! The cherry pit goes sailing down the table and into Dad’s mouth and anyone who thought they might have heard or seen something errs on the side of “I must have been mistaken”. Dinner just carried on, with Omi trying to keep her smile on the inside.
You will need:
10 cups blueberries
1 cup water
3/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. orange rind
1 tsp. cinnamon, optional
Pomona, is the Roman goddess of gardens and orchards while Hegemone, in the Greek pantheon, was responsible for nurturing plants to grow and bear their fruits. However you recognize the wonder of growth and harvest, offer thanks. Find your focus, come into the present moment and begin.
Compote has whole fruit and larger pieces in it. Technically most apple or pear sauces would not qualify. The fruit is cooked in a syrup often spiced with vanilla, citrus peel and whole spices. Berries, because they fall apart more readily tend towards a sauce that is not as clear but I want to keep as many whole as possible.
Cook the first half longer and allow the second addition of berries to stay whole.
Add in the uncooked berries and continue to cook for three – five minutes.
The intention here is keep the second batch of fruit as whole as possible so that this is not blueberry sauce when the cooking is finished.
Once cool, check to ensure that all the bottles are properly sealed and store any that are not in the fridge. Use first.
Lable and store in a cool dark place.
Can not emphasize the labelling enough. In a year, blueberry, blackberry, blackcurrants and several other mixtures will all look the same.
Cherries, pears, apples and larger fruits do well on their own, fruit and juice together while berries, which have broken down more in the preparation tend to be complemented with other foods.
Blueberry compote makes a nice light ending to a meal and can be lovely, served with pancakes or waffles on a cold winter morning or used as a topping over granola and yoghurt, once the fresh berries are gone.
Having something locally grown and lovingly made to pull from the pantry is an added bonus. Half of these had orange only and the other cinnamom and orange. Before I forget which is which, time to label.
Remember also if you only have a cup or two of blueberries, cut the recipe down and plan to use it up within a couple of days of making it.
Blueberry Honey Compote from My Kitchen Wand