To make the best out of a $2 per punnet berry season, I cook a variety of recipes with them other than snacking straight out of the box.
Compotes have to be one of the easiest one to make. And because there is a huge variety of fruits all year round for me to experiment with, there is very little reason for me to make a large batch. Moreover, unlike jam and conserve recipes, I add too little sugar to my compotes as preservatives. Might as well skip the calories from sugar and eat them up faster.
I like to make a tiny batch like this, simply grab one of the many boxes of berries out of the freezer (yes, on-sale-berries, I’ll gladly stock up to freeze), no need to thaw, wash and pat dry, and into the pot they go. Once they start to break down and release juices, I add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of raw sugar, depending on how sweet I need them to be. For compotes on pancakes or french toasts, I only add half teaspoon, as I prefer them on the sourish zone.
Compotes are great with ice cream, pancakes or french toasts. Makes popsicles prettier too!
Tiny Batch Blueberry Compote
125g blueberries, fresh or frozen 1-2 teaspoons raw sugar juice from 1/2 lemon
Cook blueberries in a non reactive pot over medium heat. It is important to use a suitable pot so that it doesn’t get stained by the acidic ingredients. In general, stay clear of aluminum and copper pots. I use stainless steels. More about this here.
Once the berries start to break down and release their juices, add sugar. Keep stirring while cooking to prevent the mixture from burning, you may add some of lemon juice if you find the mixture too dry to handle, it might be too runny at this stage but we are going to reduce the liquid later anyway, better than burning a pot of good berries.
At this point, I will usually start to squash the berries with the back of my wooden spoon to release more liquid into the pot to cook the berries. Save a few berries intact, so that when you see whole berries in your compote, it gives a really nice handmade/homemade touch to the finished product.
Once you are happy with the consistency of the compote, taste test the compote if the sweet/sour level is to your liking, add sugar or lemon juice accordingly till you are happy with it. Continue to cook after adjusting the taste to bring the compote back to a thicker consistency. I do not add thickeners like arrowroot powder but rely merely on juices and sugar to thicken the compote.
Serve them immediately, or store in a clean jar, consume them as soon as possible.