Pineberry: The White Strawberry that Tastes Like Pineapple (Including Growing Instructions and Health Benefits)

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Pineberry: The White Strawberry that Tastes like Pineapple
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Pineberries are an unusual-looking fruit that looks like a white strawberry with red seeds. Many people say that this white small juicy fruit tastes similar to that of a pineapple. Pineberry gets its name from the combination of the words pineapple and strawberry and is sometimes called a pineapple strawberry. The plant is actually a cross between 2 varieties of strawberry.

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard about this white strawberry before. This hybrid albino fruit only appeared in the U.S. around 2012. Because of its small-scale production, it is difficult to find the white berries in stores or farmer’s markets. However, if you are an avid gardener, you can grow your own pineberries in a similar way to growing regular red strawberries.

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In this article, you will learn about the pineberry that some people call an albino strawberry. You will also find out how to grow pineberries in your own garden.

What is a Pineberry (Albino Strawberry)?

A pineberry is a type of white strawberry that has the botanical name Fragaria Ananassa, and is sometimes called Fragaria Wonderful Pineberry.

The pineberry is a cross between the Fragaria virginiana and Fragaria chiloensis (Chilean strawberry) varieties of strawberry. Although also called an albino strawberry, the pineberry can be a pale pink or pale orange color. The striking look of pineberry fruits is enhanced by the vibrant red seeds in contrast to the pale white flesh. (1)

White strawberries of Fragaria chiloensis (Chilean strawberry) were cultivated by the native people of Chile and can still be found today.

Apart from the white color, one of the differences between pineberries and strawberries is the size of the fruit. Fruits from pineberries range in size from 0.6″ to 0.9″ (1.5 to 2.3 cm). This means that a large pineberry fruit is about the same size as the smallest variety of strawberry. (2)

The pineberry plant can grow as much 12″ (30 cm) tall and spreads up to 18″ (45 cm) wide.

If you grow your own pineberries, you can expect to get fruit from summer until the onset of frost.

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Researchers from the University of Missouri say that, although pineberries have white flesh, they shouldn’t be confused with a true “albino strawberry.” Some disorders can affect regular red strawberries causing them to develop albino fruits that don’t taste good. (3)

One of the reasons why it is difficult to find pineberry fruits for sale is because they don’t travel well. The white pineberry fruits are very soft when ripe and tend to spoil easily.

If you are keen to try the unusual taste of a pineberry, it is probably easier to grow your own from roots or starts in your garden, pots, or in hanging baskets.

Where pineberries come from

Pineberries are a variety of strawberry that has been developed through cross-breeding, not genetic engineering. So, pineberries are a completely natural type of fruit and are not a GMO fruit.

It is reported that Dutch farmers selected and cultivated a variety of South American strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) and crossed it with a North American one (Fragaria virginiana) to produce a pineberry. Over a period of 6 years, they improved the taste and quality of the plant before they started selling pineberries commercially.

Pineberry plant flowers

Before white fruits appear on the pineberry plant, you will see white flowers appearing. These small flowers are similar to those on regular strawberry plants and have a yellow center.

What does pineberry fruit taste like?

Some people describe pineberries as a white strawberry that tastes like pineapple. However, the pineapple-like taste isn’t obvious to everyone and some people describe it as sweet strawberry taste with a hint of pineapple.

Nutritional Value of Pineberry

Pineberry is a relative newcomer in terms of fruits and berries that are good to eat. Because the pineberry is a cross between a couple of strawberry varieties, we could expect that it has some similar nutritional content, although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) still didn’t publish official nutritional data specifically about pineberry.

If we look at regular red strawberries, 100 g of small strawberries (which equals to about 15 pineberries) contains nearly 100% of your daily vitamin C requirements. Also, the seeds in pineberries and strawberries are an important source of fiber. 15 small strawberries give you 2 grams of fiber, which is 8% of your recommended daily intake. (4)

Pineberries may also contain trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals similar to those in strawberries.

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One of the differences between white strawberry fruits and red ones is the antioxidant content. The red color of regular strawberries comes from antioxidants called anthocyanins. Dark and red-colored fruits help to reduce inflammation, the effects of oxidative stress, and risk of cardiovascular diseases. (5)

There is an indirect evidence to suggest that pineberry fruits have similar antioxidant content to regular strawberries. A study from 2018 that was done on the Chilean white strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) says that this is a semi-domesticated strawberry with high polyphenol content and antioxidant activity. (8)

Health Benefits of Pineberry

Although little research has been done on the potential health benefits of eating pineberries, they may be just as good for you as strawberries are.

Fruits from all types of strawberry plants contain a lot of water – in fact, around 90% of the strawberry weight is water.

The fiber and water content of pineberries (similar to strawberries) is good for your digestion. Fiber helps to bulk up stool and prevent constipation. Water is also necessary to help keep bowel movements regular. (6, 7)

As previously mentioned, both the red strawberry and the Chilean white strawberry contain high antioxidant value.

While no studies were done specifically about pineberries, a study on rats from 2017 found a reduction in inflammatory responses after a liver injury in rats fed with Chilean strawberry extract compared with the control group. This study also mentioned that white Chilean strawberries have been described as a good source of phenolic antioxidants. (9)

Further reading: Antioxidants: What They Are, Proven Benefits & Antioxidant Foods

Varieties of Pineberry Plants

There are a growing number of pineberry varieties to choose from if you want to grow your own attractive white berry plants. However, unlike your typical strawberry which has hundreds of varieties, there are relatively few types of pineberry plants to choose from.

Here are the most common varieties of pineberry plants to choose from:

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White Carolina pineberry

The White Carolina is a popular type of white strawberry that tastes similar to a pineapple. The fruit has a pale pink to white color with distinctive red seeds (called achenes) pitting the skin. The white flesh of this pineberry variety usually becomes pinker when exposed to direct sunlight.

Some gardeners report that the White Carolina variety is more susceptible to disease and requires organic fungicides to help encourage healthy growth.

Natural Albino pineberry

The Natural Albino pineberry is described as a deliciously tasting white strawberry. This type of pineberry produces smaller fruits than other pineberry varieties and requires cross-pollination with regular strawberries.

White D pineberry

One of the reasons why many people like to grow the White D variety of pineberry is they have slightly larger fruits that taste great. An advantage of White D pineberry plants is that they produce fruit multiple times throughout the growing season.

White Pine pineberry

The White Pine pineberry cultivar is a hardy strawberry variety that produces a number of runners. White Pine fruits have the characteristic pineapple taste that many pineberries have. These white strawberry cultivars don’t produce as big a yield as some of the other pineberry varieties.

How to Grow Pineberries

Pineberries grow similar to strawberries and it is just as easy to grow pineberries as it is to grow strawberries.

To start growing pineberries, you should look for pineberry starters for sale. You could start with 2 or 3 starters for the first year and then propagate more plants for further years. Regular red strawberries can be propagated from a runner, however some of the wild strawberry varieties can only be propagated by seed, so check the instructions of the manufacturer for the pineberry variety you have purchased.

It is reported that some varieties of pineberry plants are partially self-pollinating. Most growers recommend planting regular strawberries nearby to allow for cross-pollination. However, this won’t affect the color or taste of your white strawberries.

Some websites recommend planting Natural Albino pineberry cultivars next to Sonata strawberries for best results.

It is best to plant pineberry plants where they can get between 6 and 10 hours of sunlight a day. It is important that the soil is well-draining and stays moist. You should also remember that pineberries that are exposed to direct sunlight will turn a pinkish-white color.

Planting pineberry plants

The time to plant new pineberry starts is around spring time when the soil is warm. If you decide to plant in the fall, make sure and put plenty of mulch over the starts to protect them from frost.

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Prepare your strawberry patch by digging up the ground and removing all weeds. To prevent fungal diseases affecting your plants, it is not recommended to plant pineberry runners where nightshades (eggplant, potatoes, or tomatoes) have previously grown.

Dig in organic manure to your prepared patch of ground. Make holes in the ground approximately 12″ (30 cm) apart and put your pineberry starts in. Water the plants well.

It is also a good idea to put plenty of mulch around growing plants as this helps protect the fruits from spoiling easily.

Watering pineberries

Pineberries grow well in moist soil that is not overly wet. Some gardeners install a drip system for their strawberries to prevent the soil from drying out and help healthy fruits to grow.

Fertilizing pineberries

Because most pineberry varieties are ever-bearing plants (that is, they produce crops multiple times in the season), they require feeding every 2-4 weeks to encourage healthy growth.

When are pineberries ripe?

You know that pineberries are ripe when their skin turns from green to white or pinkish-white.

Common problems when growing pineberries

The most common problem that affects pineberry plants is diseases that can affect the leaves or root system.

A lack of moisture or nutrients can cause leaf scorch which can turn the leaves a rusty-brown color. Light pruning and appropriate watering and feeding can often prevent leaf scorch affecting your pineberry plants.

As with most edible plants that grow in your garden, bugs such as slugs, spider mites, and aphids can affect your fruit harvest.

One way to stop bugs from eating your strawberries is to install a specially-designed mesh over the plants. You can put this over the growing pineberries when you know that the flowers are already pollinated.

Another way to keep bugs away from your pineberry plants is to use diatomaceous earth (DE). This is a natural insect killer that won’t harm your plants but will help to greatly reduce an insect infestation. One thing to remember when using DE for bugs is that it’s not effective when it gets damp. So, you will have to reapply after rainfall or irrigation. Read more about DE in my article about diatomaceous earth uses and benefits.

Reasons to grow pineberry plants

Growing white strawberries such as pineberry cultivars adds an interesting variety to the type of fruits in your garden. The sweet juicy taste of these pineapple-flavored white strawberries is also a great talking point when you have visitors.

Gardeners who grow these strawberry hybrids find that their lack of color doesn’t attract birds and other pests. Even though you still have to protect your white strawberries the same way as you would regular ones, you may have fewer problems caring for them.

You can also create delicious sweet deserts with these tangy white fruits. Placing a few white pineberries in a bowl alongside regular strawberries and other fruits can create tasty and colorful desserts. Or, you can also grow pineberries to make jams, baked goods, or pies.

Another reason to grow your own pineberries is that the fruits are rarely for sale in stores. You can usually only find white strawberries in specialized stores in large cities. If you grow pineberries in your garden, hanging baskets, or pots, you will have a supply of white tasty strawberries throughout the summer.

Where to Buy Pineberry Plants

It can be a challenge to find pineberry starts if you want to grow your own albino strawberries. Even large stores that sell pineberry plants tend to quickly run out of stock. You can also try online stores such as Amazon, however often it is mentioned that it’s ‘currently unavailable’.

If you are fortunate enough to find these unique strawberries, then be sure to take good care of them so that you get a regular crop of pineapple strawberries from year to year.

Where to Buy Pineberry Seeds

You can also buy pineberry seeds online to try and cultivate your own white strawberry plants. However, it is important to remember that pineberries are non-GMO strawberry hybrids. Therefore, you probably won’t be able to grow true pineberry white strawberries from seed and you will probably end up with a regular red strawberry plant.

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