Weird 'pineberry' coming to a supermarket near you?

Pineberry: unusual strawberry coming to the UK, is it the next big thing?


A bizarre fruit that was heading for extinction is making a comeback. The pineberry was invented in the 18th century by crossing different kinds of wild strawberry. It looks like a small white strawberry with red seeds, and apparently tastes like a pineapple. It fell out of favour and was dropped by stores, but has now been picked up by specialist greengrocers again.

The pineberry was thought to have been consigned to history, but according to the Daily Mail it was found growing wild in South America and was then brought back into cultivation by farmers in Holland. The question is whether they will take off and be hitting the supermarket shelves soon.

It's not the only bizarre fruit to be making a comeback, the Dutch exporter behind the latest pineberry push is also offering a strasberry, produced by the same strawberry cross-breeding craze. This one is said to look and taste a bit like a raspberry.

However, anyone waiting for them to take the world by storm could be in for quite a wait. This isn't the first time that either fruit has made it to the UK. In 2009 Waitrose launched the strasberry, and in 2010 it tried the pineberry for its five-week season. Neither sold particularly well.

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Weird fruit

It seems it may be the latest in a long line of fruit and vegetable innovations that linger on with the specialists and make it to the odd corner of a supermarket, but remain an untried mystery to most shoppers. Here are ten of the oddest examples.

1. Purple carrots, launched by Tesco in September. Traditionally carrots were always purple, before Dutch growers popularised the orange ones in the 16th century, but this new carrot is the first time a bushy top carrot has been cultivated to be purple.

2. Bubbleberries, introduced by Waitrose in April this year. They were said to look like strawberries and taste like bubbleum.

3. King strawberries, introduced by Marks & Spencer in time for Valentines Day this year. The strawberries were at least a third bigger than normal and sweeter.

4. Sweet green tomatoes, on sale at M&S last year - said to be sweeter than traditional red ones, and grown from an unusual strain found in Israel.

5. Tiddly pommes, sold by M&S last year. The golf-ball-sized apples went on sale for a trial period.

6. Satsumos, sold by M&S in 2011 - a super sized satsuma around the size of a small grapefruit and weighing around 12oz each.

7. The flower sprout, at M&S in 2010 - made by crossing kale with sprouts, and said to be the first entirely new vegetable since the Tenderstem Broccoli.

8. Black apricots, sold by M&S in 2006 - they are more purple than black and therefore could easily be confused with plums.

9. Round carrots, sold by M&S in 2007 - about the size of a 50p piece, and roughly seven times the price of ordinary carrots.

10. Tiny tangerines, sold by M&S in 2006 - bite sized sweet fruit - the size of cherry tomatoes.

When we're weighing up whether pineberries are set to be a sensation that sweeps the nation, it's worth asking when you last saw any of these unusual fruits on the shelves of a supermarket near you.

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