Summer means farmers' markets are bursting with stone fruits — peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots and all the hybrids (looking at you, plumcots and pluots).
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Called "stone fruits" because their juicy flesh encases a single pit within a hard outer shell, these summer treats are sweet, beautiful and come with a bonus: They're full of nutrients, such as vitamin C, antioxidant carotenoids and fiber.
Now that fresh stone fruits are here, it's easy to buy more than you can eat. If that happens — or, if you just want to make an amazing dish that shows off these healthy, delicious fruits — break out your slow cooker and get ready to whip up a compote.
Chef and dietitian Julie Harrington, RD, who developed this recipe, enjoys using peaches — but you can easily mix it up by substituting plums, nectarines, apricots or cherries for some of the peaches.
Slow Cooker Peach Compote Recipe
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes Serves: 8
- 4 ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
- Place peaches in a slow cooker and toss together with the maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Top with cubed butter.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low until peaches are tender and sauce is thick and syrupy, about 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring halfway through.
- Serve warm or let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
How to Enjoy Your Compote
This easy compote adds a bit of seasonal sweetness to meals, snacks and treats any time of day, Harrington tells us.
- Breakfast: Spoon it onto toast, pancakes or oatmeal.
- Lunch: Add a spoonful to a whole-grain grilled cheese sandwich.
- Dinner: Whisk some spicy mustard into the compote and turn it into a sweet-savory sauce for grilled chicken or fish.
- Snacks: Spoon it on chia pudding or enjoy with cheese and crackers.
- Dessert: Try it on a healthier cheesecake or with a small scoop of ice cream.
However you enjoy it, it couldn't be simpler to make: Just peel, pit and chop the fruit, toss it in the slow cooker with a few basic pantry ingredients — and before you know it, you'll have this decadent yet good-for-you compote, without overheating your kitchen.
Did You Know?
Though you can sometimes find them during other parts of the year, summer is the best time for stone fruits because most won’t ripen further after they’re picked.
So if you buy a peach that’s imported from far away in the winter or spring, chances are it was picked when still hard — so it would survive the trip, but it won't be sweet yet. And it won’t taste like a fresh, local peach in the summertime.