When I was little, I remember seeing my great-grandmother, Grandma Rose, sitting in the back room of the stand on a little stool, picking over strawberries. She would make comments about how the pickers left the stems too long, calling them “mouse tails” and plucking them off. She’d then go on to tell how she used to do the picking, but that she was too old now, in her 90’s. Grandma would pile the strawberries up to overflowing in the green quart baskets, and say “Pile ’em high, kiss ’em goodbye.”
My grandmother, who we call Golligol, has sold the strawberries in the stand for all of my life. She started with a wagon, then graduated to a stand, and now she works out of our farm market, complete with greenhouse and creamery. When I was little, Golligol showed me how to tell the difference between a good berry and a bad berry, and also taught me that some of the overripe berries, not perfect enough to sell, were perfect to nibble on while working.
Grandma Rose kept notebook upon notebook of her recipes, and after she passed away at 99 1/2 years old, Golligol made copies of each notebook and put them into a scrapbook for each of our families. This recipe comes from that scrapbook, and is one of two strawberry pie recipes found there. Grandma Rose cooked mostly from memory, so often her recipes are just a list of ingredients. I’ve added in the directions here.
Great-Grandma Rose’s Fresh Strawberry Pie
- Pre-baked 9″ pie crust
- 1 quart strawberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
Choose the prettiest berries, a little more than half of the quart, to hull and arrange in the pie shell. Hull and quarter the remaining berries, and combine them in a small pot with the sugar, water and cornstarch. Cook until thickened, and pour over the the berries in the pie shell. Allow to cool, then top with whipped cream.