Fresh-picked Maine strawberries Credit: Sarah Walker Caron / BDN

Strawberry season is here in Maine. Because of the mild May and warm weather earlier in the month, growers say that this year’s strawberry crop is not only early, but looks better than ever. 

Whether you pick your own strawberries or purchase them from a local farm stand, there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh Maine strawberries. You can eat them all by themselves, but if you want to get creative with the bounty of the season, here are nine things to make with your fresh Maine strawberries.

Strawberry tart

A rustic strawberry tart

This rustic strawberry tart is a perfect way to celebrate strawberry season. Plus, it’s lower maintenance than making a pie. Instead of rolling out the dough to fit into a pie plate, neatly adding a top crust and prettily fluting the edges, you simply roll the dough into a circle, plop the berries in the center and flip the edges toward the middle.

Strawberry shrub

Shrubs, also known as drinking vinegars, are an old-fashioned fruit syrup, preserved with vinegar and mixed with water or alcohol to make a tangy, refreshing beverage. Strawberries make for delicious shrubs, and you can enjoy the sweet taste all year round if you make a batch (though we doubt it’ll last that long because it’s so delicious). Just follow the basic steps for making shrubs for a delicious summertime drink.

Strawberry rhubarb pie

A slice of strawberry rhubarb pie Credit: Sarah Walker Caron / BDN

Sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb are a perfect combination for pie. Plus, in the early summer time, both strawberries and rhubarb are ripe and plentiful at farm stands and farmers’ markets. This recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie is pretty quick and easy to whip up as far as pies go.

Fragoncello

Like its citrusy cousin limoncello, fragoncello is an alcoholic strawberry drink that is surprisingly easy to make yourself. Follow the basic steps for making limoncello, but use diced strawberries instead of lemon zest for a totally new flavor for this classic aperitif.

Strawberry rhubarb jam

A jar of Sarah Walker Caron’s small batch strawberry rhubarb jam. Credit: Sarah Walker Caron / BDN

This magical strawberry rhubarb jam recipe requires no liquid because as the fruit cooks with the sugar and lemon zest, it releases all the liquid it needs and the fruit breaks down to form the perfect consistency. Plus, it’s small-batch, so you won’t use all your berries in one go, but you will still have a tasty spread to enjoy.

Strawberry lemon refrigerator jam

For a slightly different jam flavor, try this strawberry lemon refrigerator jam. It takes about an hour to make, but it is easy and worthwhile. You simply combine the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer and pop it in the refrigerator to set.

Strawberry compound butter

Compound butter and mix-ins. Credit: Sam Schipani / BDN

Compound butter is simply a mixture of butter with sweet or savory mix-ins to give it an extra punch of flavor. Fresh diced strawberries are delicious in compound butter with a pinch of orange zest and honey. Spread the final product on fresh biscuits for a delightful summer treat.

Strawberry rhubarb upside down cake

A square of strawberry rhubarb upside down cake. Credit: Sarah Walker Caron / BDN

This recipe for strawberry rhubarb upside down cake combines a favorite, light and moist cake recipe with a buttery, sweet strawberry-rhubarb layer on the bottom of the cake. Eat it in the morning with coffee, or top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert — either way, it’s delicious.

Mini strawberry cheesecakes

Strawberries are the perfect topping for creamy, sweet cheesecakes. With its gingersnap cookie crust and fluffy consistency, you won’t be able to eat just one of these mini strawberry cheesecakes.

Strawberry season in Maine is short. Take advantage of it while you can — your taste buds will thank you.