Everything You Need to Know About White Strawberries 

A Healthier Michigan

| 3 min read

Ripe White strawberries, pineberries
You probably remember the first time you saw them. You were in the produce section of your local grocery store, searching for the best deals on fresh fruits. Your eyes wandered over the berry section, skimming the blueberries, raspberries, and the – white strawberries? These cream-colored fruits have been popping up with more frequency in stores the last couple of years. Shoppers seem to either be fascinated by them or don’t quite know what to make of this odd color cloaking a traditionally red berry. Here’s what you need to know about white strawberries.

Why are they white? 

Regular strawberry plants go from having blossoms to tiny green berries that grow and turn white, then darken to red as they reach their peak and are ready to be picked. The reason they turn red is because they contain a ripening protein that helps them change from white to red. In white strawberries, that protein is either not present or at a very low level.
White strawberry graphic

What are their origins?

There are actually dozens of varieties of white strawberries, as well as some hybrids. They have been cultivated for years in Asia, South America and other places. One of the best-known varieties is called the White Jewel, which was introduced a few years ago in Japan.

What do white strawberries taste like?

While you might think a white strawberry would taste bitter or sour, they are very sweet. Some enthusiasts say they taste sweeter than a red strawberry. Some varieties have an overly tropical flavor and smell, almost like a cross between a strawberry and a pineapple. One benefit of this super sweet factor is when they are added to desserts, smoothies or fruit salads, you often don’t need to add extra sugar. They provide that boost of sweetness naturally.

How to grow white strawberries

Some greenhouses and the nursery section of retail stores may have white strawberry plants for sale, but your best bet for these is likely going to be to order them online. That way, you can get the specific varieties that will grow best in your area and have the attributes you are looking for as far as the berries’ taste profile and even their aroma.
Some advantages of planting white strawberries in your garden, according to strawberryplants.org:
  • You can grow the non-hybrid varieties from seed. It’s cheaper than purchasing plants and it allows you to raise them indoors or in a greenhouse before transplanting them into a garden area.
  • Because they are not a flashy red color, birds tend to leave white strawberries alone. In red strawberry patches, birds can do a lot of damage.
A drawback? White strawberry plants tend to produce fewer and smaller berries than regular strawberry plants. This means home gardeners who want a big crop will need to plant more than what they normally would.
Planting tips. Here are some tips for growing the best strawberries, according to Bonnie Plants.
  • In Michigan, plant strawberries in the spring.
  • Don’t bury the plant’s crown under dirt.
  • Plant them in a garden, raised bed or container where they will get at least 8 hours of daily sun.
  • Plant them 18 inches apart to accommodate the plants’ runners.
  • Give them an inch of water weekly, but don’t get the leaves wet.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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