If you want to spice up—or should we say sweeten?—your summer garden, look no further than hula berries.
This delicious fruit is part of a growing list of wacky, natural hybrids like plumcots, cucamelons, and more. While they resemble a strawberry on the outside, hula berries actually smell and taste like a pineapple. Are you freaking out? Same.
Read on for everything you need to know about your soon-to-be favorite fruit!
What are hula berries?
Hula berries sound like they could be a science experiment, but they’re totally natural. The hula berry is a descendant of the red strawberries native to North America, Fragaria virginiana, and white strawberries native to Chile, Fragaria chiloensis.
They are not genetically modified, nor are they a hybrid of a pineapple and a strawberry. Instead, the hula berry grows naturally when cross-pollinated with a regular strawberry plant.
Do they go by any other name?
These unique berries go by a few different names, which is helpful to know when trying to buy or grow them. They’re most often referred to as hula berries, pineberries, alpine berries, or simply white strawberries. All of these labels refer to the same sweet, white fruit known for its exotic pineapple flavor.
Where can I buy them?
It’s unlikely that you’ll find hula berries on grocery store shelves or at your local nursery, though they are becoming increasingly more popular. You can buy seeds or baby plants online from sellers like Walmart, Amazon, and Etsy.
What’s the best way to grow hula berries?
The key to growing your own hula berries is making sure they cross-pollinate. To do this properly, it’s best to plant them in a 3:1 ratio with three hula berry plants for every one red strawberry plant. The Homespun Hydrangea suggests planting them all together in a sunny area with rich soil, preferably where bees frequently visit or there’s a strong breeze. This will help encourage natural cross-pollination between plants!
If you plant your hula berries in May or June, you can expect to enjoy the fruits of your labor (ha, ha, ha) by July. And don’t worry if some of them turn up entirely red—that’s a normal result of the cross-pollination process.
How do you eat hula berries?
Much like regular strawberries, hula berries taste totally delicious on their own. But if you feel like experimenting, you could add them to a variety of your favorite summer recipes.
“Because these strawberries are so unique and have such visual appeal, I would use them raw, where you can highlight their beauty. They would make a fun addition to any fruit salad, or topping for waffles and pancakes,” says ThePioneerWoman.com’s Food Director, Erin Merhar. “You can also mix them, half and half, with regular red strawberries to make a head-turning garnish on top of a dessert like chocolate pudding or key lime pie cheesecake bars. Or, substitute some of these hula berries for regular strawberries in our classic strawberry pie.”
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