Take a Flavor Trip

May 29, 2008 at 2:05 am Leave a comment

“Synsepalum dulcificum” may be unpronounceable, but that hasn’t stopped it from being on the tongues of Manhattanites as they partake of “flavor tripping parties” around the city. Otherwise known as “miracle fruit”, the small red berry is teasing the palates of partygoers by making sour flavors taste sweet.

How does it work?

“The cause of the reaction is a protein called miraculin, which binds with the taste buds and acts as a sweetness inducer when it comes in contact with acids…”

“You pop it in your mouth and scrape the pulp off the seed, swirl it around and hold it in your mouth for about a minute…”

Voila! Hot sauce tastes like donuts… at least for an hour or so, which is when the effect wears off.

This tastebud twister is not new. Westerners have been familiar with miracle fruit since the 18th century.  There is no known risk associated with eating miracle friut, but it is highly perishable and expensive.  Apparently, a single berry goes for more than $2!  And, it seems to have defied any commercial usage.  For some reason, the FDA ruled it out in the 70s as a sugar substitute.

I’d love to go to a party just because it sounds like a kick, and I’m always up for anything fun and funky.  Don’t think I’ll join the cult following this berry has attracted, though.

Want to learn more?  Check out the Flavor Tripping blog at http://flavortripping.wordpress.com.

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Entry filed under: food review, news around the blogosphere, science. Tags: , .

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