It’s berry season in Maine. Don’t let it pass you by.
When I bought into my funky old farmhouse near Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth, everything about it screamed: “Love me! Fix me! Take care of me!” And that’s exactly what I set about doing.
The 150-year-old relic of another time had a checkered history that showed in the myriad odd additions and haphazard renovations that had taken place over the generations. I felt the kindest thing to do was take it down to the studs and try to bring back some of its original simplicity and charm.
Behind the house I discovered the remnants of a garden, long-since abandoned. It was wreathed in a brilliant display of weeds, aggressive in their efforts to disguise the original intent of the plot. The only survivor of the Great Weed Invasion was a tenacious stand of raspberry canes, oblivious of their surroundings, content to enjoy their patch of fertile ground and just keep on keeping on.
Even before work on the house was complete, before the weed regiments could be tamed, I had a bumper crop of raspberries. They flowered in May, became tiny raspberry fetuses in June and ripened in July and August, luscious, ripe and ready to deliver on their promise of summer sweetness.
I never knew raspberries could be so versatile. I used them in smoothies and folded them into my yogurt in the morning. I was surprised that the best salsa I’ve ever had is this Rainbow Raspberry + Mango Salsa or that raspberry chutney is a thing, a very delicious thing. Because my raspberry harvest has made me rethink my relationship to these beautiful berries, I even use them extensively in cocktails—think Raspberry Margaritas, Raspberry Mojitos, Raspberry Sangria. I could go on … and on … and on.
Here are two of my very favorite recipes using raspberries. They’re both so easy—even the scones were no problem for me. And I have serious F.O.B. (Fear of Baking).
Kettle Cove Farm Rustic Raspberry Scones
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup refined sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (I freeze mine and use the largest hole on a hand grater to get small pieces)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.
In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add grated butter until pea-sized pieces form.
Gently whisk egg yolk and buttermilk together. Pour this mixture into the food processor and pulse just until the dough comes together.
Place dough on a floured surface and form into a rectangle.
Add in raspberries and gently knead berries in by hand to distribute them evenly. If your berries are very ripe, they may fall apart. Firmer berries will retain their shape. Both produce delicious scones.
Cut dough into 4 or 5 wedge-shaped scones, sprinkle with turbinado sugar and place on baking sheet.
Bake for 18–20 minutes, until scones are golden brown. Cool on wire rack before serving.
Cook’s Note: This recipes works equally well with blueberries, especially tiny, wild Maine blueberries.
Pro Tip: Be sure your butter is very cold or frozen before you work with it.
Set your scones in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking to help them rise.
If you are using fresh berries, make sure they are dry before you put them into your dough. Do not defrost frozen berries before adding them to the dough.
For the lightest scones, be gentle with your dough. Don’t overwork.
Rainbow Raspberry + Mango Salsa
1/2 cup peeled mango, small dice
1/2 cup raspberries, mashed with fork
1/3 red onion, chopped fine
1/3 cup green, red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped fine
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or put through garlic press
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeño pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients and let rest. Serve at room temperature. Store in refrigerator for up to four days.
Pro Tip: This salsa is terrific on tacos, fantastic on fish, and don’t even get me started about how good it is on grilled chicken. Just make sure to double or triple the recipe if you’re having guests. It goes fast!
Candace Karu makes her living writing about food, fitness and travel. She lives near the ocean in an old farmhouse with two ill-behaved dogs and two hard-working barn cats. Follow her on Instagram: @candacekaru or at www.candacekaru.com.