Several months ago, I ordered two boxes of Miracle Fruit Berries after hearing about some of their weird affects. They arrived recently, so one friday afternoon some friends and I decided to give them a try.
Miracle Fruit berries are a real fruit, not some chemical concoction. It takes plenty of convincing, because no one would expect something so strange to exist naturally. The berries are native to West Africa and have the strange effect of making sour foods taste sweet. Our minds were racing with ideas of all sorts of sour foods and how they might taste if they were sweet!
The Miracle Fruit Berries I ordered were in pill form. This makes them easier to ship and they have a longer shelf life powdered and sealed than if they were a fruit. Plus, it makes it easier to get through customs since it isn’t flora or fauna. The box comes with ten pills, so we got together a bunch of friends and all tried one.
The direction said to put the pill into your mouth and roll it around your tongue until it dissolves. We weren’t sure how fast to roll it around or how long it should take to dissolve. So we erred on the side of caution and took it slowly. 10-15 minutes later, the pills were all dissolved. They don’t have much taste, sort of cardboard or paper flavour. The real berries might taste differently or not at all.
At this point our mouths were coated with the chemicals excreeded from the Miracle Fruit Berry. My assumption is that the fruit has some sort of protein which fits into the same receptors as the sour taste buds on your tongue. It is a long standing myth that different parts of the tongue react to different flavours. This was the concept of a tongue map, but it is now proven to not be true. This would make sense why you need to roll it around your tounge to get coverage everywhere.
If the Miracle Fruit is blocking the sour taste buds, then naturally sour foods would taste sweet because you have removed the sour channel. Just like when you fiddle with the treble and bass knobs on a stereo, it sounds different, well this tastes different.
The effects of the Miracle Fruit on your tongue are estimated to last between 15-60 minutes. This probably depends on what you are eating and now much of the coating is washed away naturally. If you get freaked out, it’s always possible to drink something hot, like a cup of coffee or tea. That should wash away the coating and return your taste buds to normal.
To test the affects of these pills, we purchased some lemons, limes, sour pickles and green apples. This gave us a variety of foods to test the effects of the sour blocking power.
After rolling the pill around our mouths and dissolving them fully, someone was brave enough to test a lemon. They were pleasantly surprised by the sweet taste, almost like an orange. I thought it tasted like a lemon covered with too much sugar. Everyone who tasted it was puckering before hand, just thinking of the sour flavour. Then after putting it into their mouths, that feeling disappeared. It partly shows how strong our sense of smell is in determining the taste. The citrusy lemons and limes had a obvious change, so we moved onto the pickles. They weren’t sour at all. It’s hard to describe what a sweet pickle exactly tastes like, but it certainly wasn’t sour. Finally, we tried the green apple. It didn’t have much of a change. There was a tinge of sweetness that isn’t normally there, but not much. This was a good baseline to show that the Miracle Fruit was only affecting the sour taste buds and not chemically reacting with the food itself and changing everything to make it more sweet. A few people tried some spicy noodles with little change.
I’ve heard stories of fancy New York restaurants serving bizarre desserts with Miracle Fruit Berries. I can imagine it would be quite a shock to eat “sweet lemon pie” or some other derivation. It’s always interesting to see companies and individuals pushing the limits on our gastronomic expectations.
Overall, the experience was very strange. If you can order your own Miracle Fruit Berries online or at your local shop, I highly recommend giving it a try as a party trick. It’s such a bizarre sensation, that it is worth trying and telling your friends about. I’m sure you can think of loads of other interesting sour foods to try. I can tell you that beer certainly tastes very different (not necessarily in a good way)!