Peach & Apricot Compote

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I used to make jam. I used to boil jars and buy pectin and mash big quantities of ripe fruit. (Of course, when I lived in Canada, I had lots of family and friends that I could GIVE my finished jam to. Now that I’m in France, my distribution circle is more limited …)

Laziness also factored in. Who wants to drive to field, pick fruit, drive home, mash fruit, boil jars, burn self, eat too much, clean up sticky mess, then try to find people to give jam to …

So since moving to France, I’ve been making compote instead. One jar at a time. I’ve made strawberry rhubarb (super yum), and Peach & Apricot compote.

What’s a compote? Well, I’m not going to fuss about the real definition (lazy, can’t be bothered to look it up).

When I say compote, I mean chunky-yummy stuff you spread on toast, that is NOT full of sugar, that you have to eat within 2-3 weeks, that you keep in the fridge or freezer (not on the shelf in the pantry for decades).

It’s a FRESH, healthy breakfast spread.  How’s that for a ‘new’ definition of compote?

For this recipe, I used 2 peaches, 2 apricots, 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (chopped), and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. You could easily double/triple this recipe if you’ve got a gang to feed.


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First you have to get the skin off the peaches/apricots; so start by cutting a very shallow X on top

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Then drop peaches/apricots into a pot of boiling water for 30-60 seconds

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Who wants to bother with an ice bath? I just run them under cold water for a few seconds to stop the cooking …

adjusted IMG_6460Then you can easily peel off the skins

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Cut the flesh off the fruit as best you can, leaving the pieces quite chunky.

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Dump the water out of the pot, and put the fruit back into the same medium-sized pot.

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I happen to keep chopped frozen ginger in the freezer for making lemon/ginger ‘tea’ … so I added 3 pieces of frozen ginger (turns out I couldn’t taste it in the final product, so next time I might add more … or add some peeled/grated ginger instead)

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I also added 1 tablespoon of maple syrup – but again, not sure I needed it; my fruit was very sweet. I will leave it out next time and see how it tastes – then maybe add some in right at the end if necessary …

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OK, cook your peaches/apricots, ginger, and maple syrup (no water, nothing else), over medium heat until bubbling and lovely; reduce heat and let let simmer for about 10-15 minutes until you can drag a spatula through the mixture and you can see it’s not runny – it’s nice and thick.

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Fish out the 3 pieces of ginger, and any weird stringy bits from the apricot.

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Spoon your compote into a clean jar. Store in the fridge. Eat soon.

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Best served on half of a toasted bagel, with a Back-to-Basics baked egg. I had this for breakfast today!

CONTEST: Post a comment below. Then make this compote recipe and send me a PHOTO of your finished product (or a photo of you making the compote, doesn’t matter). I’ll randomly pick one winner from the comments/photos.

The winner will receive a copy of my archive audio CD, “Veggie Audio Bytes (Volume 1)” which contains 5 x 1 hour interviews, value $19.95 + shipping. [Read more about the CD here]

~ all best, and happy summer days,


1 Bev

Wow! Wish I had this the beginning of the month. A friend has peach trees and always brings me luscious peaches the first part of month. I tried making ‘refrigerator jam’ last summer with them that never did set up correctly. Next year I am trying this recipe for sure.

2 Nancy

Very yummy looking! I canned tomatoes this afternoon and am still squeezie-ing off the windows…

Will definitely try this, maybe add it to jazz up my oatmeal.

3 Annie

I make yogurt cheese often and this compote would be simply FABULOUS on it!

4 Patsy Brown

Shelley – Thanks for sharing your compote recipe. I have canned lot of jams, jellies, relish and other good stuff, but never tried compote. Now with less family around, less energy to do the picking, less people to help and to share with, I was definitely ready for a new idea. Neighbor just gave me some peaches and I know what I am going to make tomorrow. Sounds delicious!! Even if it does have naked fruit 🙂

Don’t know how to send pictures on this thing yet, so this is all you will get from me. Thanks again from Washington state.

5 Kathleen Coupe

Hi, I would like to thankyou for the most entertaining compote recipe I have ever seen. Many thanks, it is the next thing on my to do list, after the dark chocolate truffles. I also live in France and have taken note of the label on your Maple Syrup jar.
Once again many thanks, Kath.

Kath, I bought this bottle of maple syrup at a big Monoprix in Paris (Commerce/Motte Picquet), but I have seen other brands in ex-pat/international stores, too. You could use honey, or if your peaches are sweet, you probably won’t need any sweetener at all : )
~ all best, Shelley

6 Deb

Sound fabulous, and low-sugar too! I love ginger so I would definitely give it a try with more ginger in.

PS Would annie or Shelley mind telling me what yoghurt cheese is? Sounds fascinating.

7 Lynne

Your recipe sounds fabulous, I am going to try it very soon,thank you.Keep them coming. Lynne

8 Jim Smith, PCC

ooh, I also hate canning, and all the mess. I usually freeze my skinned tomatoes and peaches, and I wonder if you’ve ever tried freezing excess compote?

This looks like great fun and great food. As always, Shelley, the pictures make it so EASY!

9 Sherry

MMMMMMMM!!! Sounds delicious!!!!!!!Easy too! I agree the maple syrup may not be necessary if the fruit is really sweet!!

Thanks for making things simple! Worth a try.

10 Annie

Yogurt cheese is simply strained yogurt. Very important to use one without gelatin; I use the Balkan-style natural yogourt by Astro
I’ve tried it with the lesser fat one but it was not as tasty.
Initially, I used a regular plastic coffee machine filter on top of a bowl and let the yogurt strain for a few days until it become thick.
Last month I splurge on this yogurt maker and I have to say that it made a terrific difference: the yogurt is much thicker, and in less time.
And that’s all you need to do to have yogurt cheese!
It’s a great base for tzatziki or a tasty veggie dip. Or as I do often, a simple dessert: plain with honey, add fresh fruit or have it with Shelley’s Peach & Apricot compote and you’ll be in heaven!!

11 Pilar

Hi Shelley,

This is so delicious, I want to make a large batch to can. Have you canned this recipe before? Can I just increase the ingredients so I can have 5 small bottles?


12 Shelley (Head Tomato)

Pilar, I’m not a canning expert, sorry! The only times I’ve made jam in the past, I’ve used commercial pectin to make sure it was set and preserved. BUT I do know that this recipe can be frozen, and so if you make it just like I do (increasing the ingredients as much as you like), then you can put the cooked compote into jars and store in the freezer for 9-12 months. Make sure you leave 1 inch of room at the top of the jar to allow for expansion when the compote freezes : )
~ all best, Shelley

13 Sally

SOunds delicious. I’d try it out if it wasn’t mid winter. It sounds a bit like something I make for my old dad. I peel stored apples (all soft and wrinkly by now) and stew them in the microwave oven with prunes and cinnamon and added prune or pineapple juice. He eats that for tea with sliced banana, hot milk and fruit salad (I know, I know… but he likes it).

14 Jolie Mulvany

Hi Shelley,
It’s still peach season here in the Dordogne so I’m going to buy some peaches & apricots tomorrow & try your yummy sounding compote. If I use fresh ginger & cut it into three pieces like your photo, instead of grating it, will that be enough ginger? Or do you recommend using four pieces? Also, instead of using Maple Syrup or honey, can I use powdered Stevia if the compote needs a little sweetening? Don’t think I know how to transfer photos from my camera to my computer (without help from a computer literate friend) so can’t promise a pic of the finished compote. x Jolie

Jolie, I wouldn’t recommend artificial sweeteners because the research on their safety and if they really help us lose weight is too contradictory. Instead, it’s always best to stick with healthy sweeteners, like maple syrup or honey. For the ginger, 3 or 4 large pieces would be fine. ~all best, Shelley

15 outtathere

Hi Shelley – is there a deadline for submissions?

Currently I’m busy making old fashioned fermented kosher pickles with the fruits of our garden – and experimenting with pickling zucchini and summer squash.

However, thanks to your Fresh From the Freezer vids I’m now shredding then freezing the summer squashes as they come in the back door as well. After this last week of nightly sauteed summer squash it was time for storage options!

Anyway please let us know if you have a deadline.

Hi Sally Jo, the deadline is July 30th. That should give you enough time to clean up after making pickles! ~all best, Shelley

16 Leslie Cardinal

Hi Shelley,

This looks soooo good! It would be terrific with the ripe peaches I am getting at the farmer’s market now. I love your step-by-step photos and the low sugar recipe too. I might try it with a few thin slices of serrano pepper for a little Texas kick to the flavor. I’ll bet it would taste good with Indian food or on pork chops or on chicken, as a condiment.

My favorite way to make yogurt cheese is to put 2 to 4 cups of plain yogurt into a thin cloth like cheesecloth, gather up the edges of the cloth with a twist tie and suspend it over a bowl so that the liquid drains for a few hours…leaving the yummy mild spreadable cheese as what remains in the cloth. Store the cheese in the fridge…yum! Perfect for a mid-afternoon protein snack with celery or crackers for those of us who work at home.

We love your goodies, Shelley!


17 Jean

I can do this! Thanks for the recipe and especially the picture for us “Visual” folks.
I have always put off “canning” because of all the supplies required, BUT this is so doable. Thanks Shelley, another great recipe from the test kitchen in Paris.

18 Deb G

I have made apple “compote” …turns out. I rough cut an apple, discard the seeds. With a little water added, I cook down the apples. I’ve never added sweetener, but maple syrup would work fine. It’s great on french toast. I’m anxious to try the apricot + peach compote. It does sound delightful. Although, I think I’ll wait until I’m over the flu.

19 Mary

Since when is stevia an artificial sweetener?????? It is no more artificial than the ginger in this recipe. Actually, no more artificial than the peaches or apricots. It is plant that is 300 (yes 300) times sweeter than sugar, so only a very small amount is needed. It is available in liquid form or powdered, usually in health food stores.
The Inca Indians (among many other people), have been using it for hundreds of years.

20 Lydia Titcomb

Yogurt cheese is called ‘Lebne” in the Middle East. I prepare mine by using a good quality organic whole milk yogurt. Add a pinch of sea salt and ut it in several layers of cheese cloth, tie the ends of the cheesecloth on top. Put the whole thing in a sieve over a bowl. Leave in the refrigerator to drain for one or two days. The longer you leave it draining, the thicker the spread.
I spread it on walnut bread toast in the morning, and sometimes I add a little za’atar (a mixture of dried thyme, roasted sesame seeds and sumac). It is healthy and nutritious.

21 Shelley (Head Tomato)

I do not claim to be a sugar expert, but i personally try to stay completely away from all sweeteners like stevia. Here’s what i’ve read: “Made from the leaves of a South American shrub and marketed under names like Truvia, PureVia and Stevia in the Raw, it’s being touted as a natural sugar taste-alike, sans the fattening calories…. It joins three other faux sugars that Americans use to cut the calorie count in their desserts and drinks: aspartame, saccharin and sucralose.” I’d rather stay with stuff i understand and have heard of before, like maple syrup or honey or nothing. In fact, if made with ripe fruit, this compote doesn’t need any sweeteners at all – fake, real, false, faux, or artificial.

Source: m

22 Cindi

Shelley, that is when you use the store bought stevia. I always have a plant growing and just pick a leaf off. It is the most natural sugar there is. Google the plant info not the store product. I don’t know where they got their information but they don’t know what they are talking about. “Made from the leaves of a South American shrub”. Stevia is not artificial. I make powdered for the winter or bring my plant inside. It is an annual in Iowa but I can container grow it and bring it in in the winter.

23 Gail

The compote does look and sound delicious. I will have to give it a try and like the sound of the simple natural ingredients. By the way, the egg looks delicious, how do you cook it???

Gail, I baked that egg using the trick from my Back to Basics cooking class … it was originally a lesson on how to check your oven temperature, but now that’s how I make my breakfast egg all the time — in the oven! You can see more here.

24 Melody

Looks very good!! I will now have to pick up peaches and apricots tomorrow when I head out to do grocery shopping .. I will try my best to make this up before the end of the month ..

25 Avis

Just thought I’d let you know Shelley, that I made the compote. It’s wonderful. I couldn’t get fresh apricots so I used canned apricots and it turned out great.

I was so anxious to taste it when it was finished that I put “Warm Compote on Ice cream” MmmmmmmmmmmmGood. Of course when it cools off it has much more flavor but on Ice Cream (warm) it was really tasty. Anyway, thank you for the recipe.

Sincerely, Avis

P.S. The Vegetable Salad was great too. I like the vegies warm just by themselves and I find you don’t even need meat with them because they are so tasty. Have a great week!!!!!!!!!!

26 lynette henderson

would love to know how to make the strawberry rhurburb compote.

27 Melody

I love the taste of this compote .. I have strawberries and will buy some rhubarb to make up this compote as well … This would taste awesome with cottage cheese and I agree with Avis this will be wonderful on ice cream!! .. Hmmm wonder if I could make a peach compote pie and eat that warm with ice cream … I am off to freeze some of this to see how it works out.

28 suelittle

YUM! I have got to try this!! I have made strawberry jam before… and it’s true – after being out in the field all morning the last thing you feel like doing is cutting them up that night… :))

29 Melissa Warner

I too have given up all the canning of jams and jellies. I much prefer to make compote. Any time I have fruit that is close to it’s ‘expiry’ I turn it into a compote to give it some extra life span and we eat it as jam on toast it the morning or over pancakes or waffles or over ice cream. YUM!! I love that I know what is in it and that it ISN’T another high sugar breakfast item for my son (often I don’t add any sweetener at all – just let the frut do the talkign!). He calls it jam and since we make smaller quantities at a time we can switch up the flavours instead of alwasy having the same thing. Pineapple mango, strawberry rhubarb, blueberry, raspberry, mixed berry, apple cinnamon … the choice s are infinate. We’ve done plain peach before but I’m definately going to give your peach apricot a try it sounds wonderful. Thanks for the suggestion Shelly

30 Liz H.

Some fresh-ground nutmeg instead of the ginger would be good too.

31 Jill D.

That’s looks so yummy, what a great idea.
I want to add a little brandy to it while it’s cooking
and put it over ice cream!

32 Marilou O. Barroso

Yummy, thats what i have said and thanks for sharing this healthy jam you prepared. Compote means a French whole piece of fruit in sugar syrup. Truly, my kids love sweets and what a great idea in my mind since i have made the pineapple jam before. I will try this recipe for a change. Also, made easy to prepare with.

33 Jane Ward

My neighbor’s peach tree is ripe and they don’t eat the fruit, so they let me have all I want. It is an heirloom tree on an old farm, along with apricots (already past), plums (just starting to get ripe), apples, and pears. I have 2 jars in the refrigerator, and 3 quarts in the freezer. I’m making more this evening. I love it! Here is a link to a photo of plum and peach compote:
Here are the peaches:

34 Shelley (Head Tomato)

Jane, really they don’t eat their peaches? that’s nearly a tragedy! i’m sooo glad you’re there to rescue them. Make lots of compote, freeze lots of sliced peaches. Open your own bakery 🙂 ~ all best, Shelley

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