Miracle Fruit Review- 02.07.08
Mmm Magic Berries. (I prefer that name for it.) Today i received some Miracle Fruit in the mail, and after much research and curiosity, did a bit of grocery shopping for bitter/sour foods, and then came the ultimate test (these tiny berries turn anything sour/bitter SWEET)! Pictures galore after the jump… and for those who haven’t heard of these magic berries, here’s the short version of their magic powers and background (also see the full wikipedia entry on it):
“The Miracle Fruit Plant, sometimes known as Miracle Berry, or Magic Berry (Sideroxylon dulcificum/Synsepalum dulcificum) is a plant first documented by an explorer named Des Marchais during a 1725 excursion to its native West Africa. Marchais noticed that local tribes picked the berry from shrubs and chewed it before meals. It is an evergreen plant that produces small red berries, with flowers that are white and which are produced for many months of the year. The seeds are about the size of coffee beans. The berry is sweet, and contains an active glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains, called miraculin. When the fleshy part of the fruit is eaten, this molecule binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing bitter and sour foods (such as lemons and limes) consumed later to taste sweet. This effect lasts between thirty minutes and two hours. It is not a sweetener, as its effects depend on what is eaten afterwards, but has been used to sweeten bitter medicines.” See after the jump for how it went:
UPDATE ~ rumor has it that these berries might also be perfect for valentine’s day, and not just because they are red. Their ability to help turn things sweet can be very handy…
The box and some info about the Miracle Fruit came in a USPS Envelope. You have about 24-48 hours to consume/freeze these before they go bad.
Inside the box was a bundle of foil and some papertowels padding it…
In the foil were 6 juicy red Magic Berries! (It makes me think of the gummi bears and their gummi berri potions)
So i picked up some of the recommended pairings to test with… Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit, Pomelo, Blue Cheese, Guinness… and had some of the super sour chinese sweet/sour/bitter /salty preserved mandarin peel.
Sliced up the fruit, and figured i’d try a bit of everything BEFORE so i could tell there was a difference after. Guinness was delicious, blue cheese on crackers not bad…. and then i grabbed the lime. UGH. Apparently i haven’t bit into a slice of lime without a shot of tequila preceding it… ever?
Inside the fruit… its white, juicy, and fleshy inside that red skin… much like the texture of a custard apple, sapote, mangostein, etc… the flesh clings to the seed quite a bit, so there’s a bit of work to get it cleaned off
Here is a cleaned seed ~ ready for planting! (Check back in a year or so to see if i’m growing any fruits of my own)
So what happened?
First impression ~ confusing. You still SMELL everything as it was/is.
Although already weary from the first lime experience, i went for it anyways about a minute after sucking the seed clean… and it was like eating limeade. It was confusing really, my sense/mind didn’t quite get what was going on. Then i went for the lemon, and it really did taste like lemonade! Then the grapefruit, which was already pretty sweet… and what little sourness it did have was gone, it was sweeter/waterier tasting. The bitter bits of the pomelo became rather enjoyable! The blue cheese - i think the hardest part here was that it smelled the same - it tasted like a far milder form of itself, almost more like brie with small chunks of blue cheese in it. The chinese mandarin peels… it was not the pseudo-medicinal taste i despised as a kid, but tasted more like candied peels sans crunchy sugary bits on the outside! Very weird. As for the Guinness ~ as someone who likes Guinness ~ i must say do NOT waste your Guinness like this… it was so gross. I can’t quite explain it, it wasn’t like it became apple cider… more just like bad beer. blech.
The effects lasted about 20-25 minutes for me before a lick of the lime made me make faces again. There is no coating you feel on your tongue, mouth, etc. You eat it, and it just kind of does its thing.
I made my mom come try one, and her reaction? She dislikes the feeling that your senses are being messed with. And if you’re going to ingest something to mess with you, it should be more fun/exciting of a headtrip. Also, if you’re trying to diet with this, why not just try to actually restrain yourself, instead of finding a loophole around sugar?
Bottom line? Bizarre. I can certainly see why the African tribes like eating it before bitter medicines. Certainly worth experiencing, and while I do feel like it could have been a bit more emotionally satisfying, its really quite bizarre to have your tastebuds messed with so easily.
Definitely a fun crazy party food experiment that will leave guests with that look of surprised bewilderment ~ and the ingredients are cheap! And if you are a terrible chef, its ok, everything will taste deliciously sweet?
As for tracking some down ~ visit my friend’s friend that hooked me up with these juicy magic berries over at Miracle Connect ~ it’s a work in progress!… and for all your NYers, you can apparently pick them up directly from them.