A jewel of a pie-to be enjoyed with fresh whipped cream. Karen Schneider photo

Wouldn’t it be just grand if Maine’s strawberry season lasted more than a few weeks? Can you imagine it? If only we could lengthen and widen the time we have to enjoy these crimson berries that are shiny with dew and warmed by the sun.

What would our lives be like with more strawberry shortcakes, pies, daiquiris and bowls of strawberries swimming in cream, enrobed in chocolate or simply popped into our mouths while we crouch in the field harvesting the best and biggest berries ever. If only . . .

To make the most of these gems while we can, I’m here to help you create two of the most divine berry-laden delights you’ll eat all summer: strawberry pie and a summery sunshine salsa.

The pie recipe is one of those standbys inspired by my hero, Marjorie Standish of “Cooking Down East” fame. In the original recipe, Marge used frozen berries for the glaze, but I go fresh all the way. I also make a quick shortbread crust because it’s the perfect delivery vehicle for those juicy berries, but if you want to be traditional, just make your favorite pie crust. I beg you not to use a ready-made pie shell though!

A slice of pie is your reward for time spent in the berry patch. Raye Leonard photo

Now I don’t know for certain, but I’m sure Marge did not intend for her beautiful strawberry pie to have a blob of Cool Whip or canned whipped cream plopped on top, so DON’T DO IT! Instead, buy real cream, get out the electric mixer, and have at it. Those beautiful fresh strawberries that you (hopefully) picked yourself deserve nothing but the best!

If this pie doesn’t get you in the swing of summer, the other recipe — a brightly colored salsa/salad —
certainly will. You’ll find yourself piling this vitamin-packed, brilliant combination on your morning toast, serving it to all your guests with crisp tortilla chips, and standing over the kitchen sink eating it at midnight with a big spoon.

It’s THAT good.

Believe me, you’ll be making new friends and influencing people with this bowlful of bursting deliciousness. Take advantage of any seasonal fruits and berries by adding them to the mix and adjusting the other ingredients accordingly. This memorable mixture will be the hit of your summer kitchen. Friends and neighbors will think you’re outstanding in your field — strawberry field — so be ready!

Writer and editor Karen Schneider has been a regular contributor to the Sun Journal for more than 22 years. Contact her at [email protected] with your ideas and comments.

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