Archive for November 5, 2008

A Little Info on the Miracle Berry

Posted in Food experiments at home with tags , on November 5, 2008 by restaurantouring

So, it’s come to my attention that some of my three readers (yes, this blog is now 33.333% more popular!) don’t know what a miracle berry is. Why they didn’t bother to Google or Wikipedia this information is beyond me. This is as much as I know about the berry so far:

The miracle berry or miracle fruit is a fruit that grows in West Africa. The interesting thing about it is that when you eat it, it makes sour and bitter things taste sweet for a brief amount of time. The active component in the miracle berry is a glycoprotein that scientists have dubbed “miraculin.”

Miraculin is a protein (with loose carbohydrate chains) which binds to certain receptors on your tongue. As far as I can figure, sour and bitter food molecules latch onto the miraculin, and the miraculin stimulates the tastebuds that are geared towards sweet things. In a way, I guess miraculin is kind of like capsaicin (the chemical in chillis responsible for the sensation of spiciness). The difference is that capsaicin jams itself into whatever tastebuds it can, and sends a shitload of signals to your brain, which is interpreted as heat and pain.

Okay, so maybe they’re not all that similar after all.

I’ve heard that miracle berries don’t work for everyone. Sucks for them. Anecdotally, it seems that miracle berries affect people slightly differently (since I thought limes were disgusting while my roommate adored slices from the same lime).

Miracle berry is available in a few forms: paste, pill, and fresh berry. The best place to look for miracle berries is on the internet. You can even buy the tree itself, but you’d have to grow about 50 to 100 berries yourself to break even with the cost of the plants.

Heat seems to destroy the miraculin, which makes sense, since heat coagulates proteins. It’s best if you keep the berry or juice or pill, etc. on your tongue for about 30 seconds, to ensure that the miraculin coats your tongue. This way, you can maximize the effects of the miracle berry. The effects of the miracle berry last for up to half an hour, during which sour foods really do taste sweet.

I personally have not had much luck with bitter foods tasting sweet, since I didn’t have very many bitter foods on hand.

That’s pretty much all I know, so, in the words of the wise Porky Pig, t-t-t-t-t-that’s all, folks!