Food

The Pineberry Is The Strangest Fruit You’ve Never Heard Of

Have you tried this interesting fruit?

The pineberry has long been the stuff of internet lore. Some say it’s a pineapple crossed with a strawberry. Others say scientists rescued it from the brink of extinction. But what’s the real deal with this strange fruit?

The pineberry, a variety of the common strawberry, first reemerged in British markets in 2010. Their untimely debut on April 1 led many to believe that the fruit was a photoshop hoax (they’re not), but the internet ran with the strawberry-plus-pineapple breed and conspiracy theories spiraled from there.

The pineberry is actually just a type of strawberry that’s been bred to look pale white (although it will be pinker if grown in direct sunlight) and taste tangy and sweet-tart, like a pineapple.

Pineberries
Emma Bean/Wikipedia

In fact, though the pineberry might be new and interesting to us, similar varieties have been recorded since the 18th century. Other white strawberry varieties have existed for far longer. Dutch farmers “rescued” the specific strawberry variety that makes the pineberry look so strange.

It took years of plant selection and cultivation to improve the health and vitality of the pineberry plants. Only then was the decision made to begin growing them commercially. Today, they’re produced on a very small scale in Europe and Belize, and are deeply unprofitable due to their small size and the low yield of plants.

But the important question: do they really taste like pineapple? Well, descriptions are mixed. One team of reporters at The Guardian who tasted the pineberry shortly after its 2010 debut had unfavorable responses. “It tastes like water with sweetener in it,” one said. Another noted that they “wouldn’t substitute it for a strawberry, but it’s a nice addition to the berry family.”

If you’d like to try the pineberry for yourself, they have a growing period of only a few weeks in the middle of summer. You can buy them at high-end eateries like Mario Batali’s Italian food emporium, Eataly (with locations in New York, Chicago, Boston and soon L.A.) and at fancy groceries like Dean & Deluca (locations across the states), or you can even buy your own seedlings and DIY.

You could buy 10 roots of these White Carolina Pineberry Plants for under $7 (plus shipping) right now on Amazon. If you live in a cooler climate, you can always consider growing these in containers instead of the ground.

White Carolina Pineberry Plants, 10 roots for $6.97 + shipping

Whether they hold up to their purported pineapple taste or not, you have to admit that they look pretty cool!

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