Miracle Fruit: Extraordinary Effects

The miracle fruit, as you might notice from its name, is truly a miracle. Also known as the miracle berry or miraculous berry, it originated in West Africa and has the amazing property of reducing the sour taste and sweetening sour foods.  With long, dark green leaves, the plant produces a bright red, single seeded, oval-shaped fruit that can reach 2-3 cm long.

Ever heard of these miraculous fruits?

The miracle fruit, though it has low sugar content, covers most the sour taste of  foods such as lemons and limes but keeps the sweet flavor.  The fruit by itself has a mild, tangy taste.  When the fleshy inside  of a berry is chewed, the pulp coats taste buds in the mouth and a seemingly miraculous effect takes place–sour things no longer taste sour but sweet.  This amazing effect lasts for 30-60 minutes, until saliva washes away the molecules.

Sour foods are not the only foods that the miracle fruit effects. Many other foods such as tomatoes, grapefruit, pickled food, even cream cheese, vinegar and pizza obtain a sweet, extraordinary taste to it.  In West Africa, where the miracle fruit originated, local people have often picked the berry from bushes and chewed it before eating meals.

The miracle fruit contains a molecule called miraculin,  which is responsible for the sweet effect.  The miraculin molecules stick to taste buds on the tongue, and when other foods are eaten, activates the sweet receptors causing everything to taste sweet.

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