Miracle berries contain only a small amount of natural sugars and produce a mildly sweet tangy taste just a tiny tingle of tartness is detectable. One of the unusual characteristics of this berry is that it causes a difference in our taste perceptions after we eat it.
Acidic well drained soils rich in humus and organic matter are preferable. Full sunlight is required, even partial shade is intolerable.
Sour foods such as lemons and limes will taste sweet. This is caused by a carbohydrate found in the berry known as miraculin which adheres to your taste buds and creates the effect. It blocks the receptors which detect the sourness of some foods and in turn the receptors that detect sweetness are activated. The effect will generally last about 1/2 hour
In the USA, an attempt was made to market the fruit, but the USDA jinxed the project by labeling it as a food additive instead of produce, which it actually is. Conspiracy theorists claim the project was sabatoged by the Sugar and artificial sweetener Industries. In Europe, the EU lists it as 'Novel Food', and it requires a safety assessment before it can be marketed.
It has been documented in West Africa since the 1700s and was probably in use by the indigenous population long before.
Germination from seed takes up to three weeks and shrubs will begin producing fruits after 3 years. Under ideal conditions they produce two crops annually.
Miracle Berries grow on a dense shrub that reaches 6 to 15 feet in height. It produces white flowers and subsequently an oblong red fruit similar to coffee beans, which contains the berry.
A frost free climate is necessary, full sun is best but partial shade is tolerable. A somewhat acidic soil with a ph between 4.5 and 5.5 is best but not written in stone.
Preservatives can be made from this berry, but without heat processing as the miraculin is corrupted by heat. Miracle Berries should not be confused with Miracle Fruit which is an unrelated crop.