Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Curious Pineberry

I don't often talk about the goings-on in my garden, largely because I think that there are many bloggers who are much better informed than I am on matters horticultural. However, I can't resist a short digression on the very curious soft fruit known as the pineberry.

Just a few short years ago articles started appearing on gardening sites about strange berries that looked like white strawberries with red seeds and that tasted a bit like pineapple. They were frequently believed to be April Fool jokes. The wildly different opinions on how good they tasted didn’t help. Some said they tasted of nothing at all, while others said that they were the best berries that they’d ever eaten.
Pineberries do exist
Last year I got hold of a few plants and grew some for myself and, for what it’s worth, here are my very unscientific and highly personal conclusions.
  • They can be treated like any strawberry plant but they seem to be more sensitive to the cold and wet. So keep them sheltered in the winter, unless you have very forgiving winters where you live. A greenhouse is probably best during the coldest weather.
  • They aren’t likely to produce a massive crop (although the weather wasn't great this year and that may well be a factor).
  • And now the important bit – the taste. On the scale between ‘tastes of nothing’ and ‘best berry ever’ I’m definitely leaning towards the latter. I would probably still prefer a really good wild strawberry but pineberries combine a wild strawberry taste with a sharper edge that is genuinely reminiscent of pineapple.
  • They probably won’t change your life, but, if you have a spare pot or two in a warm spot, they are definitely worth trying to grow.
Although I’ve never seen them in the shops, I’m told that pineberries are sometimes sold in limited quantities in supermarkets and upmarket (or, to put it another way, expensive) grocers.

Digression over - I promise to get back to recipes shortly.

14 comments:

  1. I've never heard of them so I obviously move in very limited circles. We are determined to grow strawberries this summer (assuming we get a summer), so I might make some investigations...

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have a strawberry bed from runners which crept under the fence from a neighbour. They didn't produce much this year either, which I suspect was due to the weather. I'd heard of pineberries but never seen them for sale, either as berries or plants - they sound delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting post Phil, I have never heard of them, I will though keep an eye out for them at the markets, I wonder what they are called in French! Take care Diane

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sooo interesting! I'm curious about these little buggers!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've never seen or heard of pineberries but would love to try some! Just imagine the baking possibilities...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Never seen these before. Interesting though.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am so glad you posted about this, I have been sorely tempted to buy a few plants myself but I was skeptical about how good they really would be. I am going to buy some the next time the catalog comes through the door ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, these sound delicious! I love that they have a pineapple flavour. I've no idea where I'll manage to find them. I look forward to your recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is a very curious berry Phil, never seen before, will look out for that - I may even have a go in them at the pot :) thanks for the inspiration

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have never seen a pineberry before oh gosh. I am so intrigued. they look like a pale strawberry! super cool that they taste tlike pineapple.thanks for sharing this with us, I nv would have known about them otherwise. xx

    ok wait I can't stop thinking about them. where did you get hold of your plant? do you think I can get them in London??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bought mine in a local garden centre, but the supply in garden centres has been a bit patchy in the last few years. I reckon that they'll be much more widely available next year - apparently pineberries were available as an alternative to strawberries at Wimbledon for the tennis this year so there's obviously a market. In the meantime, the plants are available on-line from a number of suppliers, including some of the large ones like Suttons. (They're sometimes known as Anablanca strawberries). Waitrose has sold the berries in limited quantities in the past - keep a lookout next May and June.
      A word of warning - I've just read an article by the gardening writer Nigel Colburn who described the pineberry as 'repulsive', so it's clearly not to everyone's taste.

      Delete
  11. pineberry what a strange name.hmm might.ask.my mate with an allotmentvto do the hard work.for me:

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've never heard of or seen pineberries before! How intriguing!! I might have to wait until I have an actual garden to grow them in before I start searching for some plants though.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was only looking in my seed catalogue last night and planning next year's garden when I saw these, but they call them whiteberry. I decided that they looked a bit too unappetising, like an unripe strawberry, but you might have convinced me to give them a try. Will I convince the kids though?

    ReplyDelete

Sorry but I've had to switch word verification on due to a vast amount of very depressing spam.