The miracle berry, a small red berry native to West Africa, has been used for centuries by the locals to convert bitter, acidic or sour foods into a sweet tasting treat.
So, how does the miracle berry work?
By chewing on the berry for one minute the active component, miraculin, binds to the tastebuds acting on the sour receptors of the tongue, turning sour tastes sweet. The effect of the berry can last from 15 minutes to an hour.
The berry was first documented in 1725 by explorer Chevalier des Marchais, however, it wasn’t until the 1970s that an attempt was made to commercialise the berry. These first endeavours ultimately ended in failure, however recently the miraculous properties of the berry have been revisited.
While the berry has great potential in a world that is increasingly facing the challenges of obesity, it is in the home of gastronomes and the adventurous that the berry has really found favour. Miracle berry dinner parties are all the rage as people experiment with the way the berry interacts with different flavours such as pickles, beer, citrus fruits as well as experimenting with the adverse effects the berry has on your favourite white wine (often rendering it sickly sweet) or bar of chocolate.
One problem you will face if you would like to hold your own Miracle Berry party is that the miraculin in the berry begins to deteriorate as soon as it is picked and will only last for 1 to 2 days after harvest, thus it is very difficult to find them in Australia. There are companies in Asia working on a way to freeze dry the berry and create a pill form, however these are yet to be released in Australia.
If you know where to buy the miracle berry in Australia, or you have experienced the berry we would love to hear your comments below…