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Synsepalum Dulcificum

The New York Times has an article today about a strange West African Fruit that alters taste sensation:

The miracle fruit, Synsepalum dulcificum, is native to West Africa and has been known to Westerners since the 18th century. 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, according to a scientist who has studied the fruit, Linda Bartoshuk at the University of Florida’s Center for Smell and Taste. Dr. Bartoshuk said she did not know of any dangers associated with eating miracle fruit.

Miraculin! Chew on a single berry and let the pulp coat your tongue and you’re set for an hour or so. The result? “Limes were candied, vinegar resembled apple juice, goat cheese tasted like cheesecake on the tongue and goat cheese on the throat.” I’m intrigued. It’s available from Miracle Fruit Man.

As always, Wikipedia has more.