You’ve undoubtedly heard of Miracle Fruit before. I first read about these magical little berries in the New York Times last summer and have been curious about them ever since. We used Bryan’s birthday as an excuse to have a couple of friends over for dinner and flavor trip.
For those who don’t know, Miracle Fruit (synsepalum dulcificum) is a berry native to western Africa which has the unusual effect of turning sour things sweet. This strange response is caused by a protein in the fruit (miraculin) which binds with taste buds and makes sour things taste sweet for about 30 minutes (although some people report an even longer effect). Bottom line: It changes the way things taste and suddenly a lime wedge tastes like sweet lime candy. Sour cream tastes like whipped cream! Amazing stuff happens in your mouth!
They aren’t cheap. We ordered ours from a nice man named Curtis who makes his living selling the berries. You order them online and they are shipped to you frozen. At first you’re surprised that your $60+ only bought you this tiny plastic bag of berries but soon you’ll know they are worth every penny. They make for a pretty memorable party especially for those of us fascinated with food. How often does your palate change so radically? Never! It is worth noting that the berries are available in other forms, tablets and powders and stuff. They all seem less impressive to me. I’m not surprised that a tablet I put in mouth would do something so strange, I am surprised that an innocent-looking berry would.
By now you know me well enough to guess that there was also real food served pre-flavor tripping and I’ll be sharing a couple of easy recipes for party food tomorrow!
Things we recommend:
- Sour cream
- Citrus fruit (limes, lemons, grapefruit, oranges)
- Salt & vinegar chips
- Apple cider vinegar
- Cream cheese
What else? For those of you who have tried this—what do you recommend?
May 13th, 2009 at 10:59 am
What a fun idea for a party. I got to try this stuff once, at a tropical fruit farm in Australia. I could not believe the effect it had on the taste of lemon–instant lemonade!
May 13th, 2009 at 11:01 am
This stuff was so crazy! A memorable birthday for sure. An added bonus is that they come with a big chunk of dry ice to play with.
Dawn in CA says:
May 13th, 2009 at 12:04 pm
Oh, oh, oh! I remember reading about this and thinking how cool it would be to try… and then I never did. Thanks for the reminder! Sounds like a fun time. I would be tempted to add kumquats to the citrus list, if only because you could pop them in your mouth like little gumdrops. A few more things I would add to the experiment: kosher pickles, kim chee, espresso. :)
The Duo Dishes says:
May 13th, 2009 at 12:07 pm
Never tried, but dying to do so. Just tasting a Meyer lemon (sans Miracle Berry) was trippy enough! Can’t even imagine what it would do to the tastebuds and the mind to have all things sour suddenly go sweet.
May 13th, 2009 at 12:09 pm
We even had pickles on hand and forgot to try them in the flavor tripping frenzy! Kumquats, kim chee and espresso are all good ideas. We’ll give them a try on the next round of tasting…
May 13th, 2009 at 12:15 pm
Raw rhubarb was surprisingly good with the miracle berries. Just cut up and pop it like candy. You tried it, but grapefruit was probably my favorite overall. If you buy the berries as tablets (which is just the berry freeze dried and pressed into a mold) the effect is the same, it stores longer, and is a lot less expensive. Though, no chunk of dried ice to play with for the tablets.
May 13th, 2009 at 12:17 pm
yeah, I imagine that the cost is good reason to go with tablets. Rhubarb! Rhubarb is a brilliant idea. Making a list…
May 13th, 2009 at 12:17 pm
This sounds like some crazy fun! I’m curious did you serve your “normal” food first and then pop the berries and play, or did you start off with the berries? Wondering how this would work with a party.
May 13th, 2009 at 12:21 pm
Yes, normal food first and then we served the berries as dessert. Only problem with this plan is making sure people don’t eat too much during dinner and then barf after eating citrus fruit, vinegar and sour cream. Ha. So, I would recommend a light dinner and then this. We also didn’t tell anyone what was happening and so it was a fun surprise.
May 13th, 2009 at 10:01 pm
What about kiwi? Be sure and rinse between acid foods or something so you don’t burn any sores into your flesh!
May 13th, 2009 at 10:50 pm
What?! This is amazing! As soon as I get a job I am saving up for these. Thank you for opening this door for me!
I love your website, I have tried many of the recipes and I have never been disappointed. Not to mention the pictures are incredible. Thank you!
May 14th, 2009 at 5:19 am
I can also vouch for them in tablet form. I found them after a quick search of the web and ebay. They are much more affordable and just as effective as the actual berry, but as someone said earlier, you don’t get the dry ice to play with…
May 14th, 2009 at 7:51 am
I have a miracle fruit shrub growing in my back yard, we have had great fun at barbies using th fruit picked right from the tree, after a few drinkies people ar absolutely amazed
May 14th, 2009 at 8:46 am
How lovely to be growing your own miracle fruit!
And yes, the tablets do not come with dry ice to play with…
Tim E. says:
May 14th, 2009 at 4:17 pm
This guy lives near my mother in law. A few visits back, after reading about Miracle Fruits, I went to his house to buy some fruits from him. He had to take a break from fixing an old camaro and clipped some off the bushes in front of his very modest house. I picked up some lemons on the way back to the house and we all enjoyed the wierdness of that fruit. I was going to take some seeds home and plant them, but I lost interest.
May 15th, 2009 at 7:36 pm
When I did this with my friends we also used pure, unsweetened cranberry juice.
May 15th, 2009 at 7:41 pm
Good idea, Lauren. Added to list. There was so much we didn’t think of…
May 18th, 2009 at 8:04 am
I’m gonna throw a flavor-tripping party at B-side and make really sour drinks to go along with it!
May 18th, 2009 at 11:09 pm
Does this fruit have any effect on spicy food? Wouldn’t it be interesting to eat some wasabi or a chili and actually enjoy it?
May 21st, 2009 at 5:57 am
It does have some effect on spicy food, but they are still spicy. So, if you don’t enjoy those foods normally you may want to avoid them while using the berries.
May 21st, 2009 at 10:53 pm
This sounds like a really awesome party/experiment!
I’d say try some olives, anchovies and maybe soy sauce
Molly Z. says:
May 22nd, 2009 at 5:23 pm
so much fun!! and such a mystery when you ask each guest to bring totally incongruous food stuffs for “dessert”. you’re the best, T & B!
May 25th, 2009 at 7:59 pm
I love the idea! I’ll have to get some of the tablets. I really would want to try lychee nuts and tamarind with it!
May 25th, 2009 at 9:20 pm
My boyfriend bought me some tablets for Valentine’s Day this year– and they really work! :) He and I enjoyed drinking Grapefruit juice and eating lemons and limes without having puckered faces… haha
Lyndsey M. says:
May 27th, 2009 at 11:32 pm
A dark beer with lemon sorbet (seriously) tasted amazingly like a chocolate milkshake. Also, pickles were delicious. My stomach was so confused after eating all of this but it was worth it.
May 28th, 2009 at 11:59 am
A friend of mine bought the pills on Amazon.com, but the actual fruit sounds much better! I would recommend trying (good quality) tequila, and be sure to eat the whole rind of your citrus of choice.
May 28th, 2009 at 3:20 pm
:O I really want to try these. Pomegranate perhaps?
May 28th, 2009 at 5:31 pm
I’ve tried these! They are great. Citrus is really cool, especially lemons. I think we just used white vinegar and that was good too. Hot sauce was also interesting because rather than being spicy it’s just kind of tingly.
July 6th, 2010 at 1:25 pm
Goat cheese and strawberries tastes like cheesecake.
October 25th, 2010 at 8:55 pm
How does the fruit itself taste?!