Mixed Berry Compote

The solution to summer berries that are reaching their prime, Mixed Berry Compote is part ice cream topping, a fast jam for toast, easy pancake syrup, or a spread for a charcuterie board. And the hint of basil adds bright and unforgettable flavor.

glass jar of berry jam with a small wooden spoon containing some jam resting on the opening all on a dark background and black and white checked napkin

Maybe you’re like me and you buy a lot of berries in the summer. Inevitably, some are already bad by the time I get home from the store (why—oh why does this happen?). And the others that aren’t gobbled up right away end up in this quick berry compote which is a total feel good recipe because I’m using up produce and not throwing it out. It also has got to be the easiest darn thing I’ve ever made.

Really.

But before we get to the recipe, let’s clear something up.

glass jar of berry jam with a small wooden spoon containing some jam resting on the opening all on a dark background and black and white checked napkin

what’s the difference between compote and jam?

The main difference is the ratio of sugar to fruit. Jams have more sugar and less fruit and are meant to be made saved. As in “preserved”. Compotes are made from whole fruit that is cooked down without additional pectin (or starch) and are typically eaten soon after they’re made. If you’d like more info on all the kinds of fruit spreads such as preserves, coulis, jams, jellies and more, be sure to check out this article.

saucepan of blackberries, raspberries and sugar on a black and white checked napkin

Making mixed berry compote

  • Take all of berries—especially the ones that are on their way out — and put them in a small saucepan with a little sugar.
  • Add some citrus if you like for a little tangy sweetness or you can add a touch of water.
saucepan of cooked blackberries and raspberries on a black and white checked napkin
  • Heat the berries and sugar to a low boil and then simmer it for a few minutes.
closeup of saucepan of cooked berry compote with a big sprig of basil on a black and white checked napkin

A little italian flavor

To give this berry compote recipe a little Italian old school cool…(because why not, right?), stir in a few basil leaves after cooking and off the heat. Give it a try. The basil adds a flavor that is especially good over vanilla ice cream. You can make it a game with your crew and see if they can figure out what flavor it is.

Love the touch of the unexpected!

Other flavor ideas:

  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Mint leaves
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced in half
Strainer with berries being pressed with a spatula over a saucepan and black and white checked napkin

To seed or not to seed…that is the question

Berries, especially raspberries and blackberries, can be quite controversial because they have those tiny little seeds that tend to stay around in your teeth. I do strain the compote a little bit using a fine mesh strainer pressing the fruit with a spatula (which some might say technically makes it less of a compote and more of a jelly).

spatula in a saucepan of cooked berry compote with a big sprig of basil all on a black and white checked napkin

Can I use frozen fruit?

Absolutely!

This recipe totally works for a frozen fruit compote. Just be sure to not add any extra water or juice. Instead, zest some citrus for a nice acidic punch.

white bowl with a small wooden spoon that has some berry jam in it and some crackers topped with goat cheese and jam and a jar of jam in the background

Ways to use compote

Here are some ways to use this berry compote:

  • Swirl in yogurt sprinkled with some of my Vanilla Almond Granola for an easy breakfast.
  • Use as a topping or syrup (especially if strained) for pancakes or waffles.
  • Pour over vanilla ice cream with toasted pecans or almonds and a garnish of fresh basil.
  • Spoon over a log of goat cheese and serve with fig and olive crackers.
  • Serve with pound cake or ginger cookies with coffee.
glass jar of berry jam with a small wooden spoon containing some jam resting on the opening all on a dark background and black and white checked napkin

Storing and Freezing Suggestions

After making, use a mason jar to store the compote in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It also can be frozen in smaller containers 

Tips

For many: One batch makes at least 8-10 servings for ice cream topping

For a few: Use small storage containers (or ice cube trays) and freeze so you can pop out however much you need at a time.

glass jar of berry jam with a small wooden spoon containing some jam resting on the opening all on a dark background and black and white checked napkin.
5 from 2 votes

Mixed Berry Compote

Use those summer berries as they ripen to make this easy mixed berry compote. Spread over cheese and serve with crackers for an easy and quick appetizer.
Prep Time:2 minutes
Cook Time:8 minutes
Chill time:1 hour
Total Time:1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Add the berries and sugar to a small saucepan.
  • Add the water or juice if you're not using frozen fruit. Add citrus zest if using frozen fruit or leave out completely.
  • Heat over medium low heat until the fruit comes to a low bubbling simmer.
  • Continue to cook as fruit is softened and thickens for no more than 8-10 minutes. The fruit will cook down (but not completely) and lightly coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil for approximately 2-3 minutes, lightly stirring. Taste until you get the flavor you like.
  • Carefully remove the basil from the compote if desired. Be careful as the compote will be hot!
  • Cool completely. Spoon into a clean jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Using Frozen Berries:
  • Use directly from the freezer.
  • Do not add additional water but add citrus zest if desired.
Storing /Freezing
  • Store for up to two weeks.
  • Freeze into small containers or large ice cube trays and defrost as needed.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Swirl in yogurt sprinkled with some of my Vanilla Almond Granola for an easy breakfast.
  • Use as a topping or syrup (especially if strained) for pancakes or waffles.
  • Pour over vanilla ice cream with toasted pecans or almonds and a garnish of fresh basil.
  • Spoon over a log of goat cheese and serve with fig and olive crackers.
  • Serve with pound cake or ginger cookies with coffee.
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Condiments
Cuisine: American
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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7 Comments

    1. We literally eat this salad three times a week – not only because of the minimal ingredients but because it goes with so much too! Thank you!