Introducing Pineberries: The New Sensation

Have white berries with red seeds and the occasional blush of pink popped up on your social feed or even your local farmer’s market? You may see more of this eye-catching fruit in the near future. Mainly grown in Japan, pineberries (or white strawberries) crossed over to U.S. markets only recently. The fruit is still considered a luxury, with a price tag to prove it. Here’s what makes pineberries unique.

What Are Pineberries?

White strawberries are a strawberry variety from Japan. The most popular variety, the jewel strawberry, has been around since 2012. The farmer who developed it spent years cross-breeding many types of strawberries to achieve a sweeter flavor, larger size, softer mouthfeel, and much paler color than its red relatives. People with strawberry allergies may find that they can eat white strawberries with no problem.

Why Are Pineberries White?

Strawberries get their bright red hue from exposure to sunlight. By restricting light exposure during the growing period, pineberries instead become milky white. About 10 percent of the berries turn out entirely white, while the rest have pink or red spots.

What Do Pineberries Taste Like?

Pineberries are sweeter than red strawberries, almost candy-like, and taste similar to pineapple.

Where to Buy Pineberries

Though white jewel strawberries are mostly available in Japan, you may come across them in luxury food stores in the U.S. You may also find other varieties of white strawberries at your farmer’s market, as they can grow in USDA planting zones four through 10.

How Much Do Pineberries Cost?

Developing this unique variety took time and labor, and the berries require more space to grow than conventional ones. Plus, each crop produces a smaller yield. For these reasons, large, luscious pineberries come with a hefty price tag.

One berry can cost around $10, and a box can go for $40. The fruit isn’t meant for chopping up into your breakfast cereal but instead savoring like a decadent chocolate truffle.

Types of White Strawberries

There are upwards of 50 white strawberry varieties, including the popular Japanese jewel strawberries. These also include white subspecies of wild strawberries, namely alpine strawberries and beach strawberries (also called coastal strawberries).

Pineberries vs. White Strawberries

Pineberries are a hybrid of the white strawberry and can ripen in the sun, leading to a more pinkish hue. Pale pink or pale orange berries dotted with red seeds, pineberries can easily be mistaken for white strawberries. Not to mention, both berries are difficult to find in grocery stores in North America.

The difference between these two berries comes down to breeding. Pineberries are a cross between a wild South American strawberry from Chile and the classic North American strawberry. They’re smaller than jewel strawberries and bear a closer resemblance to traditional wild strawberries.


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