Sunday, January 24, 2010

Miracle fruit!

Last night, a big group of mathies and significant others gathered at Chris' apartment for a "miracle fruit tasting party" of sorts. We each brought an item or two that was particularly bitter or vinegary or sour or hot, and after eating this berry, said items are supposed to taste sweet. The spread on the table once everyone arrived was part impressive and part disgusting (see below for a list of most of them). Chris had ordered these berries over the internet and amounted to $3 a pop, with shipping, but as luck would have it, Asa recently gave me a dozen or so seeds for this very plant. I'm hoping to get to Home Depot or something next weekend and get some supplies and start that project.
Anyway, we all popped a berry in our mouths, swirled it around for 2 minutes or so, biting through the skin and spreading the juice all around, and finally spitting out the inedible seed. Then, the eating/drinking commenced. Here are some of my impressions of individual items:

* Kumquat: This one was interesting for me because I had never eaten one before this evening, so I had one immediately before eating the miracle fruit and then again shortly thereafter. The difference was quite noticeable; beforehand, it tasted kinda sour and citrusy, and afterwards all of that was gone, to be replaced by a faint tingly sugariness. It was quite the transformation.
* Grapefruit, Grapefruit juice and tequila: The juice also showed a strong change from before to after. Mixing it with tequila was interesting, because the smell was horrible, but the taste was sweet and pleasant. The grapefruit itself was similar to the juice but the effects were less dramatic, as I'm sure they put a fair amount of sugar in the juice already.
* Salt & vinegar potato chips: These changed slightly for me; I could still feel a vinegary aftertaste, but the initial bite and chew were somewhat sweet. I also used these as a litmus test later on to determine whether the effects had worn off.
* Persimmon: Another fruit that was wholly new to me, but I didn't get a chance to taste it before "popping my berry", so to speak. It was great! Soft and juicy, like a mango, hint of sweetness. It makes me want to try it again, but I'm afraid of ruining my perception of it as a sweet fruit...
* Lime: I chewed a whole wedge of lime, after peeling it from the skin. There wasn't much to it; I could sense a bit of sugar in the juice, but I think it was just too much lime for me to handle so I couldn't get a good perception of the flavors.
* Wasabi peas: This was a strange change. These ended up tasting like nothing, juts crunchy green things. Others claimed that the wasabi heat was intensified for them. I wonder how this all works...
* Granny smith apples and green hot sauce: This was a stupid combination. I had a slice of the apple and it was pretty good; not much of a flavor change, but enough to remove some of the bitter aftertaste. I hadn't tried any of the "hot" food items yet, so I thought I'd toss some hot sauce on an apple because, well, how else was I going to eat hot sauce? This turned out to be awful. I highly recommend never doing it.
* Raw ginger: Another anti-recommendation. Even just a tiny shaving of ginger turned my mouth into a hotbed of activity, with everything tingling and burning. I had to swig a big mouthful of tequila/grapefruit juice to make it stop.
* Beer: Okay, this was the part I was most questionable about. I tried a sip of someone's Magic Hat Lucky Kat IPA, and it did taste somewhat sugary, but I couldn't tell if it was the bitter hop flavors being transformed into a sweetness, or whether it was the natural sugars from fermentation becoming intensified. I stopped at one sip, as well, afraid of ruining my undying love for IPAs. The other beer I tried was Guinness with lemon sorbet. Yes, that's right. It turned out to be rather pleasant; the Guinness itself wasn't changed that much, but after letting the slightly citric lemon sorbet melt a little bit in the beer, the combination was a perfect mix. I wish I had a better description than, "It tasted like sweet Guinness", but that's exactly what it did taste like. Just trust me.
* Pickles: Okay, this might have been the most noticeable change. I brought a big jar of Kosher dills, a typically strong garlicky/briny style of pickle. These became entirely sweet, with not a hint of vinegar or garlic to them! I was pretty shocked. Some people just said, "Aren't there sweet pickles already?" Well yes, but to have the entirety of flavor replaced by sweetness was pretty stunning; I'd say it went through the biggest transformation of all of the food items. I also brought some gherkins, but those are already a little sweet, but they also had all of their vinegariness removed and sweetness heightened a bit.

Okay, that's all I can remember.


  1. Très interessant. Ça fait longtemps que je veux gouter le miracle fruit :) Pour ce que je suis en train de lire, cela vaut la peine!

  2. Oui, c'etait amusant, particulerement avec une groupe si grand (il y avait vers douze personnes la). On peut acheter des pepins sur le web, bien sur. Goute-le!