By Teresa Woodard
Can you smell the super-sweet, extra-juicy strawberries ripening in backyards and fields across the Midwest? With names like ‘Jewel’ and ‘Earliglow’, these berries will be in season for the next few weeks, so be sure to enjoy them while they last. You’ll find them at local farmers’ markets, u-pick fields and specialty grocers. Personally, my favorite ways to savor these fresh-picked fruits are in preserves, a fresh strawberry pie (see recipe below) and strawberry shortcake (using the biscuit recipe on the back of the Bisquick box and topping it with a premium vanilla ice cream and sliced berries).
To learn more about picking, storing and even growing your own berries, check out this First Fruit story I recently wrote for Edible Columbus. As a teen, I worked at a berry farm in western Ohio for a couple of seasons, so I was delighted to talk with central Ohio growers about new growing techniques, harvesting tips and their experiences with customers who take extremes to make the most of the fleeting berry season.
Fresh Berry Pie (from American Discovers Columbus cookbook)
- Baked 9” pie shell
- 2 quarts berries minus 1 cup, chopped
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp., cornstarch (more for very ripe fruit)
- ¾ cup water
- Red food coloring (optional)
- Whipped cream
Bake pie shell. Fill with clean hulled sliced berries, minus 1 cup. Heat 1 cup chopped berries and 1/3 cup water to a slow boil, about 3 minutes. Mix sugar and cornstarch with 3/4 cup water and add to warm berries. Add red food coloring if desired. Heat for an additional 3-4 minutes. Cool, then pour this thick syrup over the fresh berries. Top cooled pie with whipped cream.