The Miracle Fruit Plant
The Miracle Fruit Tree from West Africa is simply amazing. The natives enjoyed the benefits of the fruit for centuries. The local food supply was mostly very bland. These natives discovered that eating the small fruit made sour food taste sweet and improved other food and drinks.
Today more and more people are discovering and enjoying this fruit all over the world. From San Francisco to New York, Miami and most major cities around the world, flavor tripping has become all the rage.
A typical flavor tripping party involves groups of people tasting many sour and other bland or just plain foods. The fun begins when lemons taste sweet as lemonade. Some even say that tobasco sauce tastes like chocolate syrup. Well I can tell you it does not! It’s hot like hell, so don’t even think about it! Many other foods and drinks do improve and taste surprisingly better. Try a sip of balsamic vinegar or taste some goat cheese and be pleasantly surprised at how tasty the goat cheese becomes. I could go on and on but won’t ruin the fun for you. You have to taste it to believe it. The only caution I offer you is that you don’t overdo it. Eating a large quantity of sour foods may upset your stomach.
In the 1960s, an attempt was made to market the active ingredient in Miracle Fruit called miraculin. Mr. Robert Harvey, a biomedical postgraduate student, founded the Miralin Company to grow the berry in Jamaica and Puerto Rico. The plan was to extract the miraculin in his United States Laboratories. Mr. Harvey targeted his marketing to diabetics. He felt very strongly that miraculin had tremendous commercial value and was a safer alternative to other non sugar sweeteners. In his research he discovered that miraculin or miracle fruit could make diet foods taste better and with no strong aftertaste.
For several years Mr. Harvey worked closely with the Food and Drug Administration, trying to get Miraculin on the market. In 1974 when miraculin was about to be launched into the market, the FDA pulled the plug on Mr. Harvey and his dream of making miraculin available to consumers. The FDA ruled that miraculin would require additional years of testing if it was to allow miraculin as a food additive. This ruling effectively put the Miralin Company out of business.
It’s difficult to understand how a berry that has been consumed for centuries and now for many years all around the world could meet this fate. Could it be that special interest like the sugar lobby played a role in the demise of Mr. Harvey’s Company?
So how does the Miracle Fruit do its magic?
The miracle berry is small it’s about ¾ inch to 1 inch. The bright red long and oblong shaped berry contains several chemical properties. The most concentrated chemical is a glycoprotein named miraculin. Miraculin binds to taste receptors in the tongue, tricking them into sensing acidic tastes as sweet. Miraculins masking effect on taste buds is temporary, typically lasting 45 minutes to an hour in most cases. To experience the effect, you would scrape some of the pulp and seed away with your teeth and tongue as you chew it. Wait about twenty minutes and start tasting.
So everything tastes great, right?
Well, not everything. Some foods taste great, some are unaffected and others are a little nasty. Some like beer after eating the fruit and others hate it. Everyone is different and parties can be quite fun.
- Grapefruit – candy
- Honey Dew – brings out the soft subtle flavors
- Granny Apple – best apple of your life
- Broccoli – amazingly the cooked stems taste like artichoke
- Plain yogurt tastes like a good fruit yogurt.
The miracle berry really is miraculous, fun and an amazing fruit tree to grow. Today more and more people are discovering this amazing miracle berry tree. The tree and its berries is fast becoming popular in diets and as a treatment for patients under going chemo treatments. The berries seem to assist in improving appetite and in removing the metallic taste from the mouth of cancer patients treated with chemo therapy.. Diabetics also use the berry to avoid sugar.