When pineberries first hit the market in 2010, many people thought they were a hoax. And indeed the milk-white strawberries with red pips look more than just exotic, they look alien. However, they are real, and what’s more they taste absolutely delicious.
The flavour is somewhere between that of a strawberry and that of a pineapple – hence the name, and they can be used in many of the same ways a strawberry can.
One of my favourite recipies is strawberry and pineberry flan. I simply buy a flan base, fill it with homemade strawberry custard, and alternate the two different kinds of fruit on the top. It’s simple, delicious and looks extremely impressive, if I say so myself.
These white berries also look amazing decorating the top of homemade cupcakes. I love to bring them to parties and never fail to get positive feedback and even requests to buy them.
The fact that pineberries are real does not mean that there are no myths about them. The group of Dutch farmers who started growing them commercially were said to have rescued them from the brink of extinction somewhere in the depths of Chile. In fact, the original pineberry plants – a strawberry variant – were found in France, though it’s true that Dutch farmers spent many years improving the stock before releasing them for sale.
There is another rumour that such a weird looking fruit must be the product of genetic engineering. In fact, they were cross-bred in the conventional way.
Pineberry seeds are not available for home gardeners yet, and if you save the seeds from bought fruits then you probably won’t get anything like the parent plant. A word of warning: the “purple pineberry seeds” you can buy on the internet have nothing to do with the fruit being discussed here. They are instead a species of cannabis, so illegal to grow!
However, it is possible to buy plants.
Pineberries should ideally be grown in greenhouses as full direct sunlight changes their white flesh to a mauve tint, but the method of cultivation isn’t significantly different from that of strawberries. However the fruit is smaller and the yield significantly lower. This is perhaps why commercial cultivation has not yet caught on.
They are well worth any extra effort for their novelty value. I’ve found that my guests are seriously impressed when they see pineberries either growing in my garden or served up in my dining room.
This is a sponsored post by YouGarden
YouGarden is an online gardening centre run by three horticulturalist who have over 50 years combined experience. They have one simple ethos “Gardening for Everyone” and sell everything for from easy to grow veg and flowers to fruit trees including ‘mini orchard’ patio trees.