Miracle Fruit and Flavour Tripping
Turning the Sour beautifully sweet
A plate of fresh lemon and lime pieces or perhaps sipping vinegar might not sound like a tempting sweet treat but they can be if you fancy trying a little flavour tripping with the aptly named miracle fruit.
First off to put your mind at ease its worth saying Miracle fruit is absolutely natural, and its effect of making sour and acidic things taste sweet is harmless, temporary and most importantly fun and interesting.
Ok so I should basically explain what it does and how it works. Essentially whats happening when you eat miracle fruit (whether fresh, freeze dried or as extract in tablet form -see below), is that the ‘Miraculin’ (a glycoprotein molecule) found in the fruit attaches to the taste buds on our tongue, temporarily distorting our sense of taste so that sour and acidic foods are received as tasting sweet. That is our sweet taste buds are for a short period activated by sour products. The effects of Miraculin are pretty short lived and will have completely worn off after an hour maximum.
I think playing with this effect makes for a great and possibly informative food and taste experiment. Or a cool thing to do with guests after a dinner party or just with friends over drinks. So far I’ve resisted the temptation to create an incredibly sour dessert that tastes sweet after miracle fruit (maybe guest could receive and taste it as sour at first then be given miracle fruit to flip it to a sweet dish). A major reason I’ve not done any such dish so far is two-fold. 1- Its risks being over novelty based, and would it actually be good? 2- The acidity which makes many things taste sour is obviously still present in them even if they now taste sweet. And much more than relatively small amounts of acidic products is going to mess with your insides and sting you lips etc (probably not what you want from say a dessert).
The best thing I recon is just to have some fun with this and experiment abit with how it alters how things taste.
Some cool things to try tasting I’d recommend include-
Fresh Lime - Tastes amazing, slightly addictive.
Fresh Lemon - Becomes abit like lemonade or sherbet
Various Vinegars - Because you just have to try them
Blue cheese - This is odd but interesting
Any sour or sharp booze - Booze is always a good plan
Essentially anything sour is worth a go but these are a good place to start.
I found it easiest in the UK to get hold of Miracle Fruit tablets. You just let them dissolve on your tongue and leave it a couple of minuits before you start tasting, using water to cleanse your palate.
You can get hold of the tablets here - http://miracleuk.info/