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Eating Sweet: A guide to the transforming properties of the miracle berry

Getting an “A” on that midterm that you did not prepare for? That’s a miracle.  Going out with your ex-girlfriend’s best friend and living to tell the tale? That’s a miracle, too. Eating a sweet lemon? Well, that, my friends, is a “miracle berry!”

Miracle berries, native to West Africa, are referred to as “miracle” berries because the compound that actually causes the uncanny transformation from sour to sweet in your mouth is called “miraculin.”

When you pick these berries off of shrubs (if you’re ever in West Africa) and toss one into your mouth, the “miraculin” is released all over your tongue. What does it do? “Miraculin” coats your tongue and clings to each individual taste bud. Let’s call this the resting state. At this time, you are only eating the miracle berries and building up the miraculin coating on your tongue, but you are not experiencing any sweet or sour penchants.

Source: Atlanta Military Mom

Source: Atlanta Military Mom

To understand how the transformation works, I am about to take you back to your high school chemistry lab. (Remember, almost all reactions are reversible, and we’re about to head in the backwards direction!)

Do you remember the pH scale? If not, it’s totally fine. All you need to know is that it runs on a scale of acidic (low pH) to basic (high pH). “Miraculin” needs to be woken up. Bases (or high pH) will not do the trick, but if you shower your miraculin-coated taste buds with acid (not the hallucinogen, though it may have the same effect), “miraculin” is awakened. Much like a morning person, “miraculin” wakes up sweet. If a hamburger is what is used to rouse the “miraculin” out of bed, no transformation will occur, but if a lemon or lime is the sheet-shaker, “miraculin” will have no choice but to show its sweet side. This is because the so-called sweet receptors hidden away in “miraculin” are aroused in a low pH, or acidic environment (lemons, limes, or any other citrus fruit will do the trick, as well as vinegar or even ketchup).  Yet, just like any morning person, they will get tired as the day goes on. The shockingly sugary effects of these berries are limited, and will wear off in just a matter of time. (Warning: If you are guzzling lemons on lemons, your friends will know when the effects have worn off because you will be making the same face as the cartoon on the “Warheads” wrapper [see below].)

Source: iScream Shop

Source: iScream Shop

Now, like I said earlier, miracle berries are native to West Africa. So, unless you are planning on spending a raging spring break in Nigeria, you are going to have to find another way to get your hands (and tongue) on these taste-altering berries. Fortunately, you can purchase them on Amazon, the same place that you purchased your schoolbooks and entire series of Full House videocassettes. They are tastefully bundled in a package of eight tablets, each encompassing all the mystical powers of the hydrated miracle berries, just in powder form. And for all of you impatient foodies like me, find a friend that has Amazon Prime so you can get the free two-day shipping.

For my last post about aphrodisiacs, I did not have any participants to back up the data (mostly because the video evidence would be a bit too raunchy for this blog), but this time, I wanted you guys to see the first-hand (or first-tongue?) evidence of the workings of the miracle berries.

As you can see, these miracle berry tablets really do con your taste buds into a sweet ending. While we tried (and downed) lemon juice, lime juice, and even whole citrus fruits, miracle berries should work with any acidic food or drink. (Hint: Alcohol falls under this category and may or may not taste like sugar water with the help of miracle berries.)

So, go! Buy! Try! And most importantly, eat sweet (while it lasts).

-Jay Sheintop

Cover photo source.

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. The true test would be your Grandma Ruth’s cooking…..thats the real challenge

    November 5, 2013

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