Not sure what to make with rhubarb? Make this healthy rhubarb compote! It’s much lower in sugar than jam, freezes well and is perfect for a vegan breakfast or spooned on ice cream. I also have a delicious trick to make green rhubarb red while cooking the syrup.

rhubarb hibsicus compote

Compote Definition

Compote is like a fruit purée and quite thin like a sauce. It’s a way to preserve fruit by cooking it in syrup.

Fruit compote goes back to medieval Europe when a mix of puréed fruits was both healthy and cheap to make.

Today, I feel that the humble compote is so underrated: it’s low in sugar, a fruity accompaniment to loads of desserts and it’s a healthy (and vegan) way to start the day, spooned on morning cereal or yoghurt. In this recipe I use a quarter of sugar to the weight of rhubarb.

stalks of rhubarb in a crate at the market

Is Green Rhubarb as Good as Red?

Ever wondered why your rhubarb stalks are green and not red? Funnily enough, there’s no flavour difference between green or red but somehow the blushing red colour of rhubarb looks more appetising and less sour.

I’m always excited during French rhubarb season and love making rhubarb compote. It reminds me of all the lovely pink rhubarb we had in Scotland (ever since I was little until I left when I was 22), especially when it found its way into comforting fruit crumbles with a cheeky hint of stem ginger. We had the forced, lovely pink rhubarb in winter, followed by the still pinkish rhubarb in Spring to Summer.

However, in France we have to wait until rhubarb season between April and June.  I’m always a bit disappointed; somehow the rhubarb we find in Parisian markets is always so GREEN!

chopped rhubarb in a bowl of sugar

First macerate the rhubarb in sugar for 2-3 hours. Amount of sugar in compote is 1:4 to rhubarb

How to Cook Green Rhubarb

My answer to make green rhubarb look more red in making compote? While cooking green rhubarb, infuse hibiscus tea or Carcadet into the rhubarb syrup.

First obtain a syrup – so macerate the rhubarb chunks in sugar for 2-3 hours (or overnight). Then sieve the natural syrup from the rhubarb, reduce the syrup while infusing with the hibiscus then cook the rhubarb in the reduced syrup for 15 minutes.

Either use dried hibiscus flowers or hibiscus teabag infusions and add while reducing the syrup then add the rhubarb chunks and cook . Teabags come in so many choices these days – many in the form of detox infusions, usually with the addition of rose or rosehip and berries.  It’s a perfect flavour match with rhubarb!

macerated rhubarb chunks separated with its syrup

Sieve the syrup and rhubarb, reduce the syrup with the hibiscus tea then add the rhubarb and cook for 15 mins

How Long Will Rhubarb Compote Keep?

It can keep well in the fridge, sealed in jam jars, for up to 10 days. Otherwise compote freezes well too.

Freezing compote is perfect for that luxury winter moment when you need a dose of rhubarb or berries with that extra touch of hibiscus and rose.

How to Use Rhubarb Compote

We love rhubarb compote served chilled – from breakfast, to teatime, to desserts.
Either enjoy on its own chilled or dollop on top of vanilla ice cream. However, it’s so useful served with cakes and also delicious with rice pudding. Use it as a base for strawberry tarts too.

Here are some ideas how best to serve your compote:

rhubarb rose crumbles

Spiced Rhubarb Compote

Not fancy making the compote with the tea? Then it’s even easier!  Forget the hibiscus/red fruit tea and add some candied ginger to the compote – the spiced ginger combination is so fabulous. It reminds me of when I grew up in Scotland, when we often paired ginger with rhubarb.

Berry Compote

The beauty with compote is that it’s versatile and vegan, too.

Enjoy the same recipe using summer berries. It’s a great, healthy alternative to rhubarb jam (jam needs more sugar) using just a quarter ratio of sugar to fruit.

Rhubarb Compote with Fruity Hibiscus Tea

rhubarb hibsicus compote
5 from 14 votes

Rhubarb Compote with Hibiscus Tea

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Macerating time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
Course : Breakfast, Side Dish, Dessert, Condiments, Brunch
Cuisine : French
Keyword : Rhubarb compote,, fruit compote, rhubarb hibiscus, hibiscus tea recipes, how to prepare rhubarb
Servings : 6
Calories : 109kcal


Rhubarb Compote made pink by infusing a hibiscus teabag to it. So healthy, compote only uses a quarter of sugar, so far healthier than jam. Can keep in the fridge up to a week and freezes very well.


  • 400 g (14oz) Rhubarb about 4 medium sticks
  • 100 g (3.5oz) Sugar (sugar ratio is 1/4 to rhubarb weight)
  • 1 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers (Carcardet) or 2 hibiscus teabags
  • strawberries (optional)


  • Wash and cut the rhubarb at both ends and discard the inedible leaves (these are toxic). Weigh your rhubarb in order to calculate how much sugar to use: the ratio is a quarter of sugar to fruit.
  • Cut into chunks about 3cm and place in a bowl with the sugar.  Leave to stand for 2-3 hours (or overnight).
  • Sieve off the rhubarb juices into a saucepan.  Add the hibiscus/red fruit tea and bring to the boil. Reduce the liquid slightly for no more than 10 minutes. Remove the tea then add the rhubarb.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer over a gentle heat for about 15 minutes until the fruit is soft and collapses into a purée. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Refrigerate until needed.


How to Keep: Refrigerate and keep in the fridge in sealed jam jars for up to 10 days.  Compote also freezes so well - perfect for a dose of summer fruit in the winter months.
How to Use: Delicious served on top of homemade maple syrup granola for a healthy vegan breakfast or spooned over vanilla ice cream for dessert.  
Berry Compote: This recipe is also perfect made with soft summer berries. Again, the ratio is a quarter of sugar to fruit.
Spicy Compote: Don't want the hibiscus/red fruit tea? Add candied ginger to make a slightly spicy compote - the combination is fabulous.

A ginger version of this rhubarb hibiscus compote recipe was first published on 27 April 2016. Recipe now completely updated to make it versatile with other summer fruits such as berry compote. A printable recipe card and video are also added.

green rhubarb hibiscus compote

From the market

From the kitchen

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Comments (17)

5 stars
Lovely idea Jill – I saw karkadé in the pharmacie in St Germain just the other day!

Really Lisa? That’s great. At the pharmacie? Good sign then – it’s healthy too!

I love ginger. I love rhubarb. I hate rooibos tea.

Well this compote is perfect for you Susan – not a bit of rooibos in sight

5 stars
Looks delish Jill. Thanks for sharing

Thanks Eva. Compote isn’t exactly the most photogenic of foods but it’s so good. I’ve just made another batch – perhaps I should have stated double quantities!