Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum), sometimes known as the Miracle Berry, is a plant native to West Africa. The berry has a mildly sweet flavor; however, the fruit is treasured not for its own taste, but for the fruit’s unique effect on the taste buds.
Miracle Fruit contains a glycoprotein called miraculin, which binds to the tongue’s taste buds when the fruit is consumed. Miraculin acts as a sweetness inducer when it comes in contact with acids, causing bitter and sour foods to taste sweet, temporarily. This effect usually lasts between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
The plant was first documented in 1725, when explorers in West Africa observed the local tribes picking the berries and chewing them before meals.
Recently, the fruit has become popular in food tasting events, sometimes referred to as “Miracle Fruit Parties.” Partygoers consume sour and bitter foods — such as lemons, radishes, and beer — to experience the dramatic change in taste.
Miracle Fruit is available in three forms: The actual berries (which are usually frozen due to their high perishability), freeze-dried fruit granules, and miracle fruit tablets.