Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Make lemons into lemonade
February 6, 2007 6:14 PM   Subscribe

An exotic West African berry, known as miracle fruit, has gained a cult following by radically changing the way things taste: it eliminates sourness, making lemons taste like lemonade and limes like candy. Despite a long history of cultivation, the FDA has not approved the fruit or miraculin, the protein that causes its odd effects. In Japan, where it has been intensely studied, the fruit is served at cafes to help dieters.
posted by blahblahblah (34 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite

 
I haven't tried it myself, but apparently, miracle fruit can be ordered from Florida or miraculin is available in tablet form from Japan. The fruit doesn't appear to be in any way illegal, but miraculin has not been FDA approved, though it has been studied quite a bit.
posted by blahblahblah at 6:17 PM on February 6, 2007


Looks interesting. My partner's diabetic sister and mum will appreciate this info. Cheers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:27 PM on February 6, 2007


That is way cool! What a fun find and thanks for the purchasing info. About the Miracle Fruit (Sideroxylon dulcificum/Synsepalum dulcificum Daniell) from Wilipedia.

I thoght your post was going to be about Rooibos tea from South Africa. Or Goji (Wolfberry).

But what a neat surprise to find out about this interesting fruit. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 6:31 PM on February 6, 2007


But I like the way lemons taste. If you don't, don't eat 'em. Seriously, what's the point?
posted by dobbs at 6:31 PM on February 6, 2007


I thoght your post was going to be about Rooibos tea from South Africa.
Rooibos baffles me. Everyone else I know who likes herbal tea loves the stuff and I think it's plain vile. I'm starting to wonder if it's like cilantro, where it tastes different to some people.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:39 PM on February 6, 2007


"Miraculin"?!

Was that name coined by Dr. Leo Spaceman?

He's a working physician ya know, with a degree from the Ho Chi Minh City School of Medicine.

Sweet is the new sour.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:45 PM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


One of the links linked to in the first link pointed out the benefits of this for, uh, oral sex. Untested though.

I'd like to be the first to test it. For science!
posted by artifarce at 6:52 PM on February 6, 2007


Are molecular gastronomy chefs using this stuff? I suppose the two hour taste-changing timeframe would make it awkward to incorporate in a restaurant menu, but I bet Ferran AdriĆ  or Heston Blumenthal could do wild things with it.
posted by jack_mo at 6:55 PM on February 6, 2007


Wow, cool stuff! And thanks for the link to wolfberry's, nickyskye. All this amazing food out there, and we're still stuck with McDonalds.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:57 PM on February 6, 2007


Am I a bad person for thinking this would be an excellent way to mask the taste of poison?

Mmm, poison daiquiris.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:06 PM on February 6, 2007


Further reading specifies that it mainly alters sour tastes, and more specifically citric acid, and that the taste of aspirin wasn't affected. So maybe poison also wouldn't work. Unless you're giving them HCl.
posted by artifarce at 7:09 PM on February 6, 2007


From one of the pages linked in the first article:


Members of the Rare Fruit Council should be much more familiar than the general public with these red berries

The Rare Fruit Council? What a life! Eating miracle fruit and snozberries all day!
posted by SassHat at 7:13 PM on February 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


i have tried this miracle fruit--and it is amazing--i was visiting a private botanical garden in southern Costa Rica--sucked on a piece of lemon (from a lemon the size of a large grapefruit), which was sour, then ate the little berry, then had another suck on the lemon slice--it was super sweet. it still ranks up there as probably the oddist taste sensation ever--it was 15 years ago, but is still a stong memory. weird.
posted by tarantula at 7:17 PM on February 6, 2007


It's interesting ... but making a habit of chomping on lemons and limes sounds a quick way to wreck your teeth.
posted by raygirvan at 7:41 PM on February 6, 2007


Damn, I'm ordering some.
posted by mullingitover at 7:53 PM on February 6, 2007


My mom has a small miracle fruit tree and it puts out a couple of berries every few months or so, not enough yet to significantly change diet for but still fun to experiment with. It's definitely an odd effect and I'm still trying to decide whether negating all the sourness of lemons and other unripe fruit is an improvement.
posted by casarkos at 8:15 PM on February 6, 2007


So what was the FDA's rationale for not approving it? This document appears to be related, but it's 201 pages long, and I haven't checked to see if there's something further in that would contradict what's in the first 3 pages or so.

The link in the original post (to quisqualis.com) isn't explicit, and has a 1992 copyright on it. Does anyone have a short explanation?
posted by gimonca at 9:29 PM on February 6, 2007


artifarce - One of the links linked to in the first link pointed out the benefits of this for, uh, oral sex. Untested though.

Nah, just stop eating junk chain-franchise fast-food. No need for "super miracle fruit."
posted by porpoise at 10:07 PM on February 6, 2007


artifarce: "One of the links linked to in the first link pointed out the benefits of this for, uh, oral sex. "

Miracle Berries: they make jism into jismade!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:52 AM on February 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Gee, I wonder what this would do to sales of Nutrasweet if the FDA would approve it?

Somehow I doubt the Rare Fruit Council has the same lobbying resources as Monsanto.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 4:38 AM on February 7, 2007


Metafilter: Make jism into jismade!

So sorry. Between Hiroshima photos, illness, and hot weather, it seemed pointless to resist.
posted by Goofyy at 4:57 AM on February 7, 2007


But ... limes ALREADY taste like candy!
posted by clango at 6:23 AM on February 7, 2007


So what was the FDA's rationale for not approving it? This document appears to be related, but it's 201 pages long, and I haven't checked to see if there's something further in that would contradict what's in the first 3 pages or so.

While the document you posted was about the wrong fruit, I have tried to look into this. The best I can tell from reading a few journal articles is this: makers of miracle fruit extract were asked to provide toxocological evidence in the 1970s, and that proved to be too expensive to justify the effort to comply with the FDA, especially given that the fruits are hard to preserve and transport in the first place. I couldnt' find any studies suggesting that the fruit was in any way toxic, but if miraculin was to be a food additive, you would expect additonal scrutiny.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:17 AM on February 7, 2007


This is super cool. I am ordering some. You're all invited to my miracle fruit party.
posted by amro at 8:20 AM on February 7, 2007


This is strange, I was just looking that up earlier today, thinking about making a mefi post about it. I found it by reading through the wikipedia pages for "Sweetness"
posted by delmoi at 8:26 AM on February 7, 2007


I'll have to try growing it. I notice the supplier is right near me.
posted by mike3k at 8:35 AM on February 7, 2007


My exotic traveling uncle once told me about a small berry someone gave him in Ghana that made everything taste sweet for hours afterward. What a wondrous world we live in. I need to travel more.
posted by lostburner at 11:25 AM on February 7, 2007


lostburner, your uncle's name isn't Matt, is it?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:33 AM on February 7, 2007


Faint of Butt, he bears a certain resemblance
posted by lostburner at 12:47 PM on February 7, 2007


I love reading through a bunch of "see how ignorant scientists really are" examples (all of which are ancient in molecular biology terms) only to come across a gem like this.

Glycoproteins are known to be completely innocent of any toxicity and are readily metabolized by the body.

If I was an FDA auditor and you told me something like this I'd have reservations about letting you put tap water into bottles.

Poking around for about six seconds with Google shows me that Ara H2, one ofthe big allergens in peanuts, is a glycoprotein. If allergies aren't precisely toxic enough for you try one of these.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:38 PM on February 7, 2007


I wonder how the fruit would work with the stuff I don't like: cauliflower, broccoli, squash and other icky veggies.
posted by deborah at 6:19 PM on February 7, 2007


Kathleen and I dropped miracle fruit on a cool October evening, just as the Roxbury Russets were starting to ripen. Two berries each, a standard dose. She handed me five Hot Tamales and one of the small, greenish apples as a chaser. I can't be sure, but I seem to recall asking if this was really a good idea. The sour becomes sweet. So what does the sweet become? She nodded her head. Yes. But there was doubt. There had to have been.

Undaunted, I crammed the Tamales into my mouth and took a bite of the apple. I started counting the number of chews it took before the rush: one-

My jaw went slack and tongue spun into a golden cherry void, only to come rushing back over my head as a tidal wave of juicy annihilation. Each taste bud a frosting-covered whitecap. I could have sworn I heard screaming, but it was swallowed by the sweetest freight train noise. Had I swallowed myself? I couldn't possibly taste this magnificent.

No. The ocean of flavor fell out from beneath me and I woke up on the flannel blanket beneath the old apple tree, shaking and covered in flop sweat. I reached into my mouth and gave my tongue a good yank. It was there. I started to laugh, and looked over at Kathleen. She was completely still. I kissed her cheek, and then my jaw went slack again. The rushing noise again filled my ears and body and swept me away to a chrysanthemum nirvana.

I truly came to ten hours later, when the branch I'd climbed up into cracked and sent me tumbling to the ground. Kathleen handed me a saltine.

K and I parted ways, amicably, a few months later. It's been ten years now. Last I heard, she was still at the old farm, tending the orchard -- but with one fewer tree in it.

I've settled down since then, got married last year. My wife is wonderful, but I still haven't told her why I always excuse myself when the waiter comes to tempt us with dessert. It is, unfortunately, one of those truths to bitter to relate.

I think that saying "the moral of all this" is a bit too high-minded, but I there is a lesson. So just trust me when I say this -- if you should ever taste the Buddha, spit him out.
posted by cog_nate at 8:54 PM on February 7, 2007 [11 favorites]


Uncanny, lostburner.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:02 AM on February 8, 2007


Artichokes also produce sweetness effects but not to the same levels as what's reported for this berry.
posted by bz at 8:11 AM on February 8, 2007


« Older Be your own video game hero!...  |  Asininity?... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments