We are so accustomed to what is sour, sweet and savory that you can’t imagine a lemon tasting anything but sour.
Behold, miracle berry! – or Synsepalum dulcificum.
This little berry can transform the way people experience food, making sour taste sweet.
How the miracle berry works
The berry itself has a low sugar content, and is relatively tasteless on its own; however, the proteins in the berry bind with the taste buds, causing sour to taste sweet.
The exact mechanism of how they work is not known, but it is speculated that when the proteins bind to the taste buds, they make the taste buds sweetness receptors responsive to sour, rather than sweet – sort of tricking your tongue and brain.
The effect lasts about 30 minutes.
History of the miracle berry
The berry is native to West Africa and is used there to improve the taste of stale food.
There was an attempt to commercialize the berry in the US. The idea was to use the berries to turn non-sweet food sweet without a caloric penalty and use it as a sort of diet food. It was denied by the FDA (the berries are classified as a food additive, much like stevia), and there is a bit of conspiracy theory floating around suggesting that the sugar industry sabotaged the research, as such a product could have possibly reduced the need for sugar.
Where to find miracle berry
The berries can supposedly be grown in gardens and purchased on the internet. They can be consumed in fresh form or also in tablets.
Restaurants, such as the iNG restaurant, centers menus around the miracle berry’s properties, changing people’s preconceived notions about food.
Has anyone ever tried one of these berries? I’ve never even heard of them until today.
Photo credit: bradmontgomery