The season for strawberries

What could be more refreshing than a huge, red, ripe strawberry ready for the sampling?

The fruit that is a relative of the rose family has been around in supermarkets almost all year, but now they are even more plentiful, large in size and sweet and will be harvested and available in pick-your-own fields shortly.

They are now used in salads, salsas, pies, cakes and breads – not just for strawberry shortcakes, but you can’t go wrong there either.

Here is a salsa that is from the Our Ohio magazine. It is fresh and sweet and is often served as a dessert or appetizer. The recipe notes that as a variation, you might add a tablespoon or more of chopped fresh cilantro or a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger to the mixture.

Strawberry Salsa with

Cinnamon Chips

1 cup strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped

2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced

Large kiwi, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 small orange, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons apple jelly

1 package won ton wrappers

1/2 cup melted butter

Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

To prepare salsa, mix strawberries, apples and kiwi together in a medium mixing bowl. Combine orange zest and juice, brown sugar and apple jelly and put on fruit. Mix together. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To prepare cinnamon chips, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut won ton wrappers in half on the diagonal from corner to corner for triangular shaped chips. Place on a baking tray and lightly brush each one with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake until lightly browned, checking every five minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve with the salsa. Store extra for up to two days in a sealed container.

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This is an easy creamy pie that includes frozen strawberries or fresh chopped strawberries with sugar to make a syrup as some is needed in the mix. It is from the Quick and Easy 2 cookbook.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

10-ounce package frozen strawberries

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

9-inch graham cracker or chocolate graham cracker pie crust

Thaw and drain strawberries, reserving 1/4 cup syrup. Beat together cream cheese, strawberries, reserved syrup and sugar. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into crust and refrigerate. Serves six to eight.

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Here is another recipe from the Quick and East 2 Cookbook.

Strawberry Tiffany Torte

3 cups vanilla wafers, crushed

1/2 cup shortening, melted

4 cups milk divided

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

Two 3 3/4-ounce packages instant vanilla pudding mix

1 quart strawberries, sliced

8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Combine vanilla wafer crumbs and shortening; set aside one cup of mixture for topping. Press remaining into the bottom of a greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Gradually add 1 cup milk to cream cheese; mix until well blended. Add pudding mix and remaining milk. Beat slowly for a minute. Pour over crust. Refrigerate to set and then put sliced strawberries over the pudding that has set up. Top with whipped topping and reserved crumb mixture. Chill several hours or overnight. Makes eight to 10 servings.

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This pound cake is intriguing. The cornmeal produces a heavier cake, but this is what is needed when you top it with juicy strawberries. It is from the Our Ohio magazine.

Roasted Strawberries with

Cornmeal Pound Cake

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

5 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten to combine

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed, patted dry and hulled

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

Sweetened whipped cream to garnish

Fresh mint leaves, as a garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Whisk the flour, cornmeal and salt together in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the 1 1/3 cups sugar and beat for an additional 3 minutes. Add eggs, a little at a time to combine. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients, a third at a time, beating until just blended after each addition. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack. Let cool completely. While the cake is baking, toss the strawberries with 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar to coat. Arrange in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. When the cake is out of the oven, increase temperature to 400 degrees. Roast strawberries for 15 minutes, shaking pan half way through the roasting time. Remove from the oven and let sit at room temperature. To serve, cut cake into slices and spoon roasted berries and some syrup that has collected in the baking dish over the top. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf and/or sweetened whipped cream. Makes eight to 10 servings.

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Strawberries combine well with rhubarb much like apple pie and ice cream. This also is the time for rhubarb, so it should be easy to find both fruits in the stores. This recipe is from Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pastry for 9-inch double pie crush

3 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut up

1 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons butter

In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and flour. Mix together. Pour into unbaked pastry-lined pan. Dot with butter. Cover top with crust. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Makes six slices.

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Here is a refreshing punch that could not taste any better on a hot summer afternoon. It is from the Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook.

Strawberry-Pineapple Punch

6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate

8-ounce can crushed pineapple

10-ounce package frozen strawberries

2 quarts ginger ale, chilled

Crushed ice

Put lemonade concentrate, pineapple and strawberries in a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth. Combine with ginger ale and pour over crushed ice in a punch bowl. Makes about 30 half-cup servings.

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This recipe is from the Better Homes New Cookbook. It is for a dessert that has all the qualities of good eating.

Creamy Strawberry Squares

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup butter, melted

34 cup chopped pecans

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin

1 cup water

2 cups powdered sugar

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

8-ounce carton frozen whipped dessert topping thawed

3 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, combine 1 1/2 cups flour and butter; stir in pecans. Pat pecan mixture evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool in pan. For strawberry topping, in a medium saucepan, combine granulated sugar, 1/4 cup flour and strawberry-flavored gelatin; stir in water. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly then cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and cover surface of the mixture. Chill about 30 minutes or until partially set. In a large mixing bowl, gradually add powdered sugar to cream cheese, beating with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add whipped topping by spoonfuls; beat until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust. Arrange sliced strawberries on cream cheese layer. Spoon strawberry topping over all. Cover and chill for four to 24 hours. Makes 15 squares.

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Many years ago, I received this recipe from Mildred Kropka and make it to the enjoyment of Lamont and other family members. It has such a fresh taste, and the syrup made from strawberry gelatin holds the berries together.

Strawberry Pie

9-inch pie crust

Small size box strawberry gelatin

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups boiling water

1 quart strawberries

Mix dry ingredients. Add boiling water and stir well before putting it on to cook until thick and clear. Cool somewhat. Line pie shell with the strawberries and pour the cooked mixture over the berries.

(McCoy can be contacted at