It is believed that around 1650 AD, a sailor returned from North America to Europe, and with him, he brought the first tiny red strawberries as well. They were known at this time as red scarlets. It wasn’t until almost a whole century later that another sailor returned from South America to Europe, this time with the first white strawberries.
It was around the time of the introduction of white strawberries to Europe, in 1750, that the two very different in appearance strawberries seemed to cross simultaneously, and as a result, created our modern-day strawberries—whose seedlings come in a red or white variety.
The white berries are a female variety and eventually became referred to at pineberries. The red variety is the males, and are the conventional everyday strawberries we know and love today. The red strawberries eventually became the dominant commercially sold variety, as they are self-pollinating and as such produce a much larger yield of fruit. With pineberries not being self-pollinating, they have pretty much nearly disappeared from existence.
Dutch breeder Hans de Jongh created and patented a variety, through the process of selective breeding rather than genetic modification, which he called “Natural Albino.” As a result, the pineberries have rapidly increased in popularity in the last 20 years. Jongh’s berries present with a pale, whitish pink flesh dimpled with red seeds—the exact opposite of the standard red strawberries with yellow seeds seen today.
Chock full of both vitamin A and C, and loaded with antioxidants and are said to be more nutritious and flavorful than the common strawberries. Those who have had the chance to try the pineberries have noted that the taste seems to present as a cross between strawberry and pineapple.
You will be hard pressed to find pineberries in the US, as they have such small yields and short shelf life. However, they easy to grow, as long as you keep in mind that they need strawberries nearby for pollination.