The joys of strawberry season

Kristi Schumacher
Be sure to take advantage of strawberry season while those berries are fresh.

Although much too short, strawberry season in Wisconsin is one of the joys of summer. 

Who doesn't love the smell and the sweet taste of ripening berries, not to mention the many ways of enjoying them? Fresh, sugared, on ice cream with short cake, just to name a few.

And it's always great to see dozens of jars of preserved jam to delight the senses on a cold winter morning. And, of course, my favorite – fresh strawberry pie.

I wasn't always a pie lover, it was an acquired taste for me. In fact, as a young adult, although I considered myself a fairly good baker, there was no way I would even consider baking a pie. It was cakes, bars, cookies and sweet breads for me. That is until a family member decided it would be fun to give me a pie cookbook for Christmas. I wasn't amused, but eventually I opened that cookbook.

Forty-five years later, the cookbook is falling apart and the pages are well-stained from all of the use over the years.

Not too long after receiving the cookbook, a friend on a neighboring farm gave me a recipe for a fresh berry pie, and that changed everything. This recipe works on all kinds of fresh fruit including raspberries, blackberries. peaches, blueberries, and, of course, strawberries. The only thing that changes in the recipe is the kind of Jell-O that you use.

Although she didn't appreciate the gift at the time, Kristi Schumacher is now a fan of making homemade pies.

It's hard not to love these pies. They can be made even in the winter if fresh berries are available at the store, or you thought ahead and froze some of the  season's bounty for later use.

These are such easy pies to make, that I bake them 2-3 times a month and share with family and friends. They are delicious any time of the year, but be sure to take advantage of strawberry season while those berries are fresh.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Baked and cooled pie shell

2 cups, sliced strawberries

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 3 oz. pkg. strawberry Jell-O

Fill shell with fresh berries. In a saucepan, combine cornstarch, water and sugar, bring to a full bull, stirring often to thicken. Remove from heat and add Jell-O. Mix thoroughly.   Pour mixture over berries in pie shell. Refrigerate 3 hours or until set. A double batch is enough to make three pies.