Ginger and Vanilla Bean Apricot Compote

July 17, 2015

Ginger and Vanilla Bean Apricot Compote

Do you know the difference between jams, jellies, preserves, conserves, marmalades, fruit butter, and compotes?
If you don’t, let me walk you through it.
Let’s start from jams.
Jams are made from fruit that is chopped or crushed and cooked with sugar until the pieces of fruit are soft and lose their shape.
Jellies instead are made from juice, or better yet fruits are crushed and cooked to extract their juice. The mixture is strained through a fine mesh fabric to remove fruit solids. As a result jellies have a bright, crystal-clear consistency.


Conserves are jams made with a mix of fruit — sometimes even dried fruit or nuts. In other words, all conserves are jams but not all jams are conserves.
Preserves have instead large chunks of fruit. Sometimes people use the term preserves to refer to whole fruit or fruit cut into large uniform sized pieces stored in its own juices, syrup or even water.
Marmalades are different in that they’re soft jelly that contains pieces of fruit rind (usually citrus). They’re usually sweet and sour, and the fruit rind imparts tends to be bitter.
In fruit butters, the fruit is slow cooked with sugar for a longer period of time in order to achieve a smooth consistency and dense texture.
What about compotes then?
Compotes are usually made with fresh or dried fruit (whole or cut into pieces), briefly stewed and used immediately as a component of a dish.
If the fruit is pureed then it’s called coulis. If instead it’s a chunky mixture it’s a compote.
Got it?

Ginger and Vanilla Bean Apricot Compote

Now that you “scientifically” know what a compote is, let’s get down to business with this Ginger and Vanilla Bean Apricot Compote.
Soooo, apricots, what's NOT to love?
Like most fruit this time of the year, perfectly ripe apricots require very little to make them sing.
A bit of sugar (or honey) enhances their natural sweetness without making them lose their distinct tartness.
Vanilla adds a little complexity, while the ginger gives a bit of flare.
As they cook down apricots release their natural juices and slightly soften. The resulting compote is almost too perfect for words.
A fruit compote is a good thing to have on hand, especially if it's as versatile as this one.
As is, you can encourage its sweetness by serving it over yogurt for breakfast or over ice cream for an after-dinner dessert.

Ginger and Vanilla Bean Apricot Compote

Ginger and Vanilla Bean Apricot Compote                                                              Print this recipe!

Note. This compote can be made 2 to 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Makes 2 cups, serves 4

1lb / 16 oz / 453 gr firm ripe apricots, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or lemon juice)
2 to 3 tablespoons raw coconut palm sugar (or honey or brown sugar if you don’t care about the paleo thing)
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and bean reserved (or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
Fresh tarragon or fino verde basil leaves (optional)


In a large skillet combine apricots, lime juice, sugar, ginger, seeds from the vanilla bean, and the bean shell.
Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until apricots are glazed and syrupy, about 7 to 8 minutes tops. Transfer to a small bowl and chill.
Serve apricot compote with yogurt or ice cream, and garnish with tarragon or fino verde basil leaves, if desired.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 80 calories, 1 gram of fat, 19 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of protein.


  1. Oh, my... is there going to be a quiz? I am nervous already....

    love apricots and your photo is a masterpiece! Worthy of the cover of a magazine. We've been enjoying quite a bit of apricots lately and I'm saving the pits to make a special ice cream. Decadent, I admit. But every once in a blue moon I indulge... ;-)

  2. ooops, me again... just saw a post in a blog I follow and immediately thought about you... sounds like something you could enjoy playing with, if you haven't yet already

    tiger nuts!

    1. Thanks for this Sally, I'll definitely check it out!

  3. this is definitely a post worthy of an award, Dr. Mike! head is spinning. Forget the terminology...this dessert looks incredible! I love the fresh apricots there. #WolfpackFruitLessons

  4. As an apricot fanatic I know this will be a mainstay in our house. Gorgeous flavors and stunning pictures!

  5. I love apricots!!!! and this compote is gorgeous!!! love all the flavors you've got going on here!! elegant and beautiful!

  6. Looks gorgeous! definately going to give it a try soon!

  7. Love the basil/tarragon and vanilla! Apricots are delicious :)

  8. I now know the difference between jams, jellies, preserves, conserves, marmalades, fruit butter, and compotes. And I feel much wiser now, than before I had read this post ;) Thanks for sharing this info! I would totally make this!

    1. Now that I know that you know the difference between jams, jellies, preserves, etc. Gives me a sense of accomplishment ;)

  9. Love your delicious and healthy fruit desserts, Mike! I'm kind of even embarrassed since I'm making outrageously unhealthy stuff. Perhaps I should fix it. Make this compote or those grilled peaches. Sure put them on ice cream or cake, hahah! Nice job!

    1. The world needs balance, that's why we're both necessary! ;)

  10. Stellar post - informative and I loved getting schooled! Saw this on Instagram and had to come visit. BEAUTIFUL photos and besides the killer ginger, I am digging the herb addition. Love to add herbs to desserts.

  11. Hi Mike, your compote is beautiful, love the flavors that you used here, very nice.

  12. This is absolutely beautiful - summery perfection! I've only had a perfectly ripe apricot once in my life and it was amazing - for some reason they're not really available here but I'm going to try this with peaches!

  13. That was a good lesson, a needed one. I am always confused. I grew up one and that was the jam. Amazing and so well explained Mike.
    I really need to get more healthy, your page always inspires me to get on tract. That is an amazing compote. Love it. The colors, oh wow.

  14. Do you think I do this with peaches instead?

  15. Do you leave the peeled ginger whole?