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What Are White Strawberries?

If you’ve seen them in the grocery store, I’m sure you’ve wondered, what are white strawberries?

Are they underripe berries? Or something else?

White strawberries are a naturally occurring but rare member of the Rosaceae family. They have the same shape and seeded finish as regular strawberries. But instead of turning red, they vary from white to blushed pink with sweet, soft, and aromatic white flesh.

Three Fresh White Strawberries on a Wooden Board

Some varieties taste tropical, and others are not dissimilar to normal strawberries.

But due to their uniqueness, they’re often much more expensive and pretty hard to find.

So let’s dive in and answer the question: what are white strawberries?

That way, you can use them in all kinds of yummy strawberry recipes.

What Is a White Strawberry? 

A white strawberry is a breed of strawberries that gained popularity in the early 2010s. Most are perfectly white with bright red seeds, while others have a subtle pink hue. They’re incredibly sweet and juicy, and extremely popular in Japan.

You’ll find white strawberries all year, though peak season is in the winter until early spring.

They’ve been naturally occurring in nature for years, but it’s only in recent decades that growers have taken to cultivating them.

And those varieties have mostly remained localized, which is why we haven’t seen them very much before now.

We have growers in Japan to thank for bringing them stateside.

So if you’ve never tried them before, I highly recommend seeking them out. You’ll love the sweet and sometimes candy-like taste!

Ripe White Strawberries on a Glass Bowl

Why Are White Strawberries White? 

You might be wondering how these strawberries earned their milky white color. And the answer has to do with evolution and science!

White strawberries in the wild don’t contain a specific protein (Fragaria allergen A1, or Fra a1), which is responsible for turning regular strawberries red. It’s a natural mutation but one that growers have developed over the years. So while it is natural, the newer varieties have been bred specifically without it to keep them white.

Strawberries grow in the wild all over the world, and there are a bunch of different species. This happens over the years, depending on the environment.

So it could be that white strawberries were found by chance and then developed further by scientists.

They took the specific genetics they wanted and made a new strain/variety.

Pretty neat, huh?

What Do White Strawberries Taste Like? 

White strawberries taste like regular strawberries for the most part, but depending on the variety, they can be tropical or candy-like in flavor. They’re sweetest when they’re ripe and usually sweeter, juicier, and more tender than red strawberries.

Pineberries, for example, taste much more tropical. They have a pervasive pineapple flavor and are tarter than other breeds of white strawberries. 

So if you add these white fruits to your next strawberry dessert, expect it to be super sweet!

Fresh Ripe White Strawberries View on Top

Varieties of White Strawberries

There isn’t just one universal type of white strawberry. Different breeds of white strawberries have unique flavors. 

Here are just a few of the different types of white strawberries: 

White Alpine Strawberries

This is one of the more common types of white strawberries. So if you see them in the store, chances are, they’re White Alpine.

This type is native to Europe and has tender white flesh with recognizable strawberry, guava, or pineapple flavors. 

White Beach Strawberries

Also known as Coastal Strawberries, these are popular in South America in coastal regions, though they’re native to Chile.

Many of the red strawberries available at the supermarket are a breed of White Beach Strawberries. They’re very popular in France.

White Pineberries

While Pineberries are a hybrid of two different types of strawberries.

They’re quite small with a slight pink hue and are native to Chile.

The name comes from the taste – a mix of strawberry and pineapple.

Keoki

The Keoki is a white strawberry breed similar to a Pineberry, sans the pineapple flavors. 

It’s super sweet and doesn’t have the same tropical notes as other breeds of white strawberries. 

White Strawberries on a Wooden Tray

White Strawberries vs. Pineberries (What’s the Difference?) 

As mentioned, the Pineberry is a breed/type/variety of white strawberry.

But while they’re from the same family, subtle differences in appearance and flavor make the Pineberry stand apart. 

How They’re Grown

Most white strawberries are grown and ripen in in-direct sunlight. That lets them keep their light color.

In contrast, Pineberries ripen in the sun, giving them a gentle pink blush with flecks of orange and red on the skin. 

The Taste

Pineberries taste more tropical than white strawberries. 

The notes of pineapple are subtle in white strawberries, but the pineapple takes center stage in Pineberries. 

Their flavors are very similar, and in most cases, Pineberries are easier to find than white strawberries. 

How Expensive Are White Strawberries? 

White strawberries are a finicky fruit, hence the high price tag. 

As of 2023, white strawberries cost upwards of $6 per pound, depending on where they’re sold and the brand. Normal strawberries range from $1 to about $4 per pound.

Since they achieve their perfectly white coloring by limiting their sun exposure, most grow indoors. And this is an expensive process. 

A white strawberry plant doesn’t produce as many flowers as a traditional one, which means fewer berries per plant. 

A smaller harvest translates to a higher price point. 

When you combine a difficult harvest with fewer berries, the price skyrockets. 

Most breeds of white strawberries are generally affordable, but some might be far outside your grocery shopping budget. 

The elusive White Jewel strawberry, for example, is perfectly white and about as expensive as a jewel.  

When first introduced to the public in 2012, a single strawberry sold for 10 dollars a pop!

So maybe these are best reserved for special occasions and fancy desserts!

Fresh White Strawberries With Leaves on a Wooden Tray

Where to Buy White Strawberries

Tracking down white strawberries at your local grocery store can be a challenge. 

As a rare berry, it’s best to start your search when you know these berries are in season. 

In Florida, farmers harvest white strawberry crops in the winter to early spring. 

The first crops harvested are Pineberries, followed by white strawberries later in the season. 

Try looking at your local grocery store, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s for white strawberries from March through June. 

Keep in mind that not all grocery stores carry this specialty fruit. Though I’ve seen them in Aldi and even Costco!

Strawberry Recipes to Try with White Strawberries

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Easy Strawberry Pie
Strawberry Cheesecake Lasagna
Strawberry Cobbler

What Is a White Strawberry?

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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