Have you come across white strawberries in the store and thought that someone must have picked their crop at the wrong time? Maybe you’ve looked the other way, thinking they must not taste too great… Think again! These berries are called pineberries, and they taste like summertime! Let’s dig into everything you need to know about this yummy fruit and whether they are a healthy choice that you should add to your meal plan.
What are pineberries?
Pineberries are a natural hybrid cross between two different species of strawberries. They look like small, white to blush-colored strawberries dotted with bright red seeds. Pineberries lack pigmentation because they don’t contain anthocyanin, the compound that gives strawberries their bright red hue.
Even though they look a bit unusual, pineberries are not genetically modified and are completely natural. In fact, these white strawberries have been around for centuries and are native to Chile. Pineberries are just now becoming popular in the United States, with many people seeing them for the very first time.
The name “pineberry” comes from the fact that it looks like a strawberry but the flavor closely resembles that of a juicy pineapple.
The fruit production season for pineberries runs from spring through summer. These berries are both fairly heat tolerant and disease resistant, making them a great option for home gardens.
You may also see pineberries referred to as pineapple strawberries, pineberry strawberries, white strawberries, or white pineberries. There are a few different varieties of pineberries, one of the most common being white Carolina pineberries.
Lastly, don’t confuse pineberries with true albino strawberries – these are actually two very different things! Albino strawberries can result from poor growing conditions, which leads to less flavorful berries. Pineberries may look like albino strawberries, but they are far more flavorful.
Pineberry nutrition is quite close to what we see with standard strawberries.
Each cup (110 grams) of pineberries contains:
- 45 calories
- 10 g carbohydrates
- 6 g sugar
- 1 g protein
- 0 g fat
In addition, pineberries contain other beneficial nutrients including fiber, folic acid, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C.
Potential health benefits
There has not been much research on the specific potential health benefits that pineberries can impart to us if we include them in our diet. However, as a strawberry species hybrid with very similar nutrition, the pineberry is considered to have many of the same health benefits as your typical strawberry.
Digestive health: The fiber content of pineberries is perfect for supporting your gut health. Consuming enough fiber helps you stay regular by preventing constipation and keeping your gut microbiome well-balanced and happy.
Supports weight loss: Pineberries are low in calories and rich in fiber. The fiber content helps you feel fuller for longer, helping you consume fewer calories throughout the day. This can lead to overall calorie reductions that can help support healthy weight loss efforts.
Eye and skin health: The vitamin A content of pineberries helps support eye health and may help to prevent the development of night blindness. Antioxidant vitamins A and C promote overall skin health through boosting collagen production and buffering inflammation to help prevent acne breakouts.
Healthy babies: The folic acid (aka folate or vitamin B9) in pineberries can be especially beneficial for moms to be as this nutrient helps protect against neural tube defects that cause spina bifida in newborn babies.
Immune health: The nutrients in pineberries are essential for proper function of our immune systems, helping it to fight against serious illness by fighting off infections.
Prevents chronic disease: Pineberries are a good source of antioxidants, which help protect our cells from oxidative stress that can ultimately lead to the development of chronic disease. A diet rich with antioxidants may help prevent many health conditions including heart disease.
Pineberries and blood sugar
People with insulin resistance and diabetes should be paying special attention to their carbohydrate intake and blood sugar regulation. Pineberries contain about 10 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving. So, does this mean that people with diabetes can’t enjoy pineberries?
Don’t worry – if you have diabetes, you can absolutely enjoy pineberries! In fact, berries in general are one of my favorite dietitian-approved foods for keeping your blood sugar lower.
Studies regarding the health benefits of berries in people with insulin resistance have demonstrated that they help reduce blood sugar spikes after meals and enhance insulin sensitivity.
Also, the fiber content in pineberries will slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, leading to slower rises in blood glucose levels. Since everyone is different, be sure to check your blood glucose after eating pineberries to educate yourself on how your body responds to the food.
In addition, fiber consumption is key in reducing your cholesterol levels to support your cardiovascular health. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing heart disease, so loading up on some fiber- and antioxidant-rich pineberries may help prevent this disease.
Where to find pineberries
Pineberries can still be quite difficult to find, as they are a specialty hybrid fruit that is new to the market. The plants have short harvest periods and typically have lower yields, this also means that they tend to be quite expensive when they are available.
Since their season runs from spring to fall, you may be able to find pineberries in your local grocery store, gourmet grocer, or specialty health food markets during this short period of time each year.
You can also check out the store locator on the website for Wish Farms, one of the companies that grows and sells pineberries. Also, be sure to check out your city’s farmer’s markets throughout the pineberry season to find locally grown berries.
If you’re having trouble finding pineberries, or if they are too expensive for you, your next best bet is to grow them yourself! You can purchase the seeds of the white Carolina pineberry plant and harvest your own tasty berries in the comfort of your own home.
How to use pineberries
Think of all of the ways you can enjoy a regular strawberry… and you can do the same with pineberries! Since these white berries have a more tangy flavor, you can add a fun twist to any recipe that calls for strawberries just by swapping to pineberries.
Some ideas for enjoying pineberries include:
- Enjoy them fresh, either alone or with other fruits in a fruit salad
- Blend into smoothies or protein shakes
- Chop up and sprinkle atop oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, pancakes, and more!
- Pair with cheese, nuts, and crackers on a charcuterie board
- Add some sweetness to your favorite salads
The bottom line
Pineberries are essentially a non-GMO white strawberry variety that is known for its sweet, tangy pineapple flavor.
The nutrition of pineberries is quite similar to regular strawberries. Pineberries are a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, and other essential nutrients.
This tasty fruit can also help support gut health, weight loss efforts, vision, skin health, immune health, and more! Pineberries may even support healthy blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
It can be difficult (and expensive) to find pineberries since their season and yield are both fairly short. However, many people opt to grow them in home gardens to produce their own supply of the white berry.
If you do find pineberries, you should give them a try. They contain beneficial nutrients and you can enjoy them in a variety of ways. Be sure to let me know what you think when you try them out!