Thursday, March 24, 2011

Miracle Berry Tasting

My school held a miracle berry tasting event this past week. For those unfamiliar with the fruit, here is an explanation from the facebook event's wall:

If you don't remember from last semester, the miracle berry, more scientifically known as Synsepalum dulcificum, is native to West Africa. When eaten, sour foods taste sweet! Chomping on lemons and limes will be a delicious indulgence after eating this berry.

How does it work?
The berry contains a glycoprotein molecule called miraculin which binds to the tongue's taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. While this mechanism isn't yet well understood, it is thought that miraculin distorts the shape of sweetness receptors so that they become responsive to acids, instead of sugar and other sweet things. Don't fret for your taste buds, though- This effect only lasts 15–60 minutes."

I was certainly skeptical to start out. Does this thing really work? I was given an instruction slip on how to eat/ use the fruit. You put the frozen berry in your mouth and suck on it while attempting to strip away the outer skin without biting or damaging the inside seed. Move the seed around in your mouth for about 2 minutes. It states the longer you keep the seed in your mouth, the better the effects. I followed these instructions to the T. My friend who was with me didn't keep the berry in his mouth for as long as he should have so the foods still tasted a little sour to him.

 Here is the little frozen berry. It's about the size of a peanut.

It reminds me of the Goji berry.

They had a variety of foods to try with the berry.

Lemon/lime- still tasted like a lemon but it was like a lemon heavily coated in sugar. I still got a tiny spritz of sourness but the aftertaste was super sweet...almost like I just swallowed a whole packet of Splenda.

Pickle- tasted like the sweet pickles which I don't like very much.

Salt and Vinegar chips- tasted like salt and SUGAR chips (gross...i know).

Sour Patch Kids- they took all the fun out of eating these sour candies. They just tasted like sweet gummies.

Hot Sauce- hot sauce normally has that pungent tang from the sourness but the sauce turned into a sweet and spicy concoction, so strange!!

Cream cheese- just a sweeter, creamier version of cream cheese.

As the description mentioned, the effect did indeed only last about 15-20 minutes for me. I wonder what future uses will be derived from this fruit.

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