Pineberries are actually strawberries, but their taste resembles the one of pineapples, which explains their name. These fruits have white flesh and red seeds, and are in fact an improved version of the original South American strawberry.
Even though their color or flavor might confuse you, it is important to note that they are not genetically modified.
Pineberries come from the original Chilean strawberry stocks, Fragaria chiloensis, that were white with a touch of the lightest pink, and still remained with some European breeders.
About a decade ago, their breeding program started and it took about 4 years before they were introduced on the market, on April Fools’ Day, 2010.
If you want to have a regular supply of these fruits, you should start growing them on your own, which would be easy if you have experience in growing regular strawberries.
How To Grow Pineberries
When it comes to pineberry starts, you should choose between three varieties: ‘White D,’ ‘White Carolina’ and ‘White Pineberry.’ They are priced high, but you cannot grow your pineberries from seeds. Purchase only 2 or 3, and increase your stock by division.
If you start with a few plants, you can plant them in pots. They have a small root system so a 10”-12” pot that is 8” deep would be great, but make sure they provide good drainage.
Also, the soil needs to be adequately moist all the time. Use high-quality soil or make your own by combining 10 parts sterile potting soil, 10 parts peat moss, 8 parts perlite, 4 parts compost, and 1 part sand.
Pineberries prefer slightly acidic soil, so its pH should be of 5.5 to 6.5. Place the pots in a place that receives 6 hours of direct sunlight or 8-10 hours very bright indirect light, and water the plants regularly. Feed with a liquid fertilizer from May onward.
If you intend to make a pineberry patch, choose an area that is exposed to the sun for at least 6 hours a day, preferably in the morning. The perfect time to set out the starts is spring after the ground has warmed up a bit.
Spring-planted strawberries may start bearing only the next year, or they might even need another year to reach maturity. If you plant them in fall, you need to provide sufficient winter protection.
The beds should be at a safe distance from blackberry and raspberry bushes and avoid beds where you have previously grown nightshade family plants like peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes.
To prepare the bed, add some ammonium nitrate and a slow-release organic fertilizer, and amend the soil with a lot of organic matter and sand to boost drainage. Plant the pineberries closer than you do with strawberries, one plant on every 12 inches.
First, double dig the bed and remove any weeds, add organic manure, and make small holes for the plants. Place the pineberry starts in the holes, with the crowns are at soil level, fix them in place, and tamp down the soil around them. Water them well.
If you feed and water them regularly, they will grow easily. To promote flowering and fruit set, give them a liquid feed of high phosphorous, high potassium fertilizer every 3-4 weeks starting from mid-spring. Also, regularly check for diseases and pests, and remove any weeds from the beds.
As soon as you notice the flowers, mulch around the plants to prevent the developing fruit from touching the ground. Also, pick the berries as they mature to boost their production.
Also, to strengthen the plants for overwintering, reduce their watering and stop fertilizing them towards late fall. They should be only lightly covered to avoid crown rot. And that’s all!
You can then enjoy the taste and numerous nutrients of these delicious fruits!
Here are some recipes you should try:
A fruity smoothie- Recipe
- 1 banana
- Half a pint of pineberries
- half a cup (120ml) vanilla yogurt
- 6 oz (170g) pineapple juice
In a blender or food processor, mix the ingredients listed above, and blend until smooth.
Add ice cubes for a more refreshing experience, and enjoy!
Spinach, Goat Cheese and Pineberry Salad
- 16 pineberries
- 4 oz (120g) soft goat cheese, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
- 12 walnut halves
For the Dressing
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot or red onion
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
You should start by rinsing the spinach and pineberries well.
Place the spinach in the plates, and add the pineberries over it. Next, add the cheese and walnut halves.
In a smaller bowl, mix the walnut oil, minced shallot or red onion and red wine vinegar, season with salt and black pepper, and stir well to make the salad dressing. If you prefer the dressings a bit sweeter, you can add a pinch of sugar or honey to it.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and serve. Enjoy!