Make this rhubarb compote, then check out our rhubarb jam, rhubarb crumble, stewed rhubarb and more rhubarb recipes.

Recipe writer Rosie says: "The start of March excites me because, while it’s still very capable of freezing winds (particularly where we are on the coast), it’s lighter and there are signs that the big chill is behind us. The name is so fitting: the unstoppable ‘march’ of nature after the stasis of winter. Spring is on its merry way, bringing with it exciting things to pick, cook and eat.

"On our walks with the dog, we see and smell alexanders, which dominate the beach paths. Some people make fritters from the flowering heads and soups with the leaves, but I don’t love the flavour – I’m always much more interested in the wild garlic that starts to make itself known in the woodlands at this time of year, picking a bag to use in the kitchen as soon as it’s ready.

"In the garden, too, things are changing. My daffodil bulbs are pushing through, flashing their blousy, canary-yellow trumpets. And what a rewarding sight – now I’m glad that crouching in the cold earth to plant them while I was heavily pregnant wasn’t a completely nonsensical move. It’s too easy to let these subtle seasonal shifts escape our notice, so I take some meditative moments at the kitchen door to soak it in. There’s comfort in observing everything on the cusp of springing into new life for another year.

"March also means the last chance to cook with forced rhubarb. Its vivid pink, nutrient-packed trunks sprout in muggy, dark sheds by candlelight in Yorkshire’s Rhubarb Triangle. My oven-roasted compote (below) is the perfect way to make use of a haul of the hot pink stuff without having to craft an elaborate dessert. Plus the cardamom adds a gorgeously fragrant note. I’ve added maple syrup as a nod to the forests of Quebec, where maple trees are currently thawing from their wintry slumber so the sap can be tapped and processed into syrup for another year. The two pair beautifully, particularly when spooned over pancakes.

"While we’re on the subject of rhubarb, rhubarb G&Ts are a lovely way to toast the start of the season. Make your own by infusing sugar-tossed rhubarb in gin. Or use Slingsby Yorkshire Rhubarb Gin, which is made with forced rhubarb from the Rhubarb Triangle."


  • 400g forced rhubarb, chopped into 3-4cm lengths
  • 1 small orange or blood orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and line a small roasting tin with baking paper. Arrange the rhubarb in one or two layers in the tin, then scatter over the orange zest and scrape in the seeds of the vanilla pod. Drop in the spent pod. Stir together the crushed cardamom and sugar, and sprinkle this over the top, then pour over the orange juice. Cover tightly and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender and the sugar has dissolved – the timing will depend on the thickness of the rhubarb. Cool.

  • STEP 2

    Once cool, remove and discard the vanilla pod. Gently stir through the maple syrup to taste, mixing the roasting juices into the rhubarb as you go. Spoon into a jar and chill. Enjoy over porridge, stirred into yogurt or piled onto crumpets or meringues with whipped cream.

We have plenty more great rhubarb recipes

Rhubarb and ginger upside-down cake

Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating

A star rating of 5 out of 5.2 ratings