General Information: Despite their extraordinary smell and taste which echoes a pineapple, pineberries are a true strawberry variety. This exciting "new fruit" originated in the 18th century. Pineberries are actually the oldest strawberry variety and were brought from Chile to France in the 1700's. Originally strawberries were white in south America and red in north America (known as scarlets). Cross pollinations between the Chilean white Pineberry and the north American scarlets, produced Fragaria ananassa, which is the base material for all the common strawberry varieties we have today.
There have been a number of white strawberry varieties around for hundreds of years; this is one of them. The name may be misleading - it doesn't taste anything like pine or a pineapple, it tastes like a tart strawberry - but boy is it aromatic! The ripe fruit flesh can range from soft white to orange and is very fragrant. The plant is disease resistant, but is not very profitable. Due to small-scale farming, small berry size and low yield crop, the Pineberry has been marketed primarily to European restaurants, bakeries and wholesale markets. It is also grown in Belize. It is imported to the US in very limited numbers and is prohibitively expensive in most markets.
Pineberries are smaller than other commercially sold strawberries and their distinct appearance is characterized by white flesh, studded with red seeds. The aroma of pineberries never disappoints and smells like traditional fraise de bois or wild strawberries. Pineberries can be used in the same way as other strawberry varieties, and they look fantastic on desserts as accents or garnish.
Availability is very limited and their season is generally less than three weeks.