How we taste foods is just a bunch of signals being sent from receptors at the tips of our tongues to our brains. Since perception plays a big part in the flavors we "think" are coming from food, alterations to the way our brain interprets these signals may change how foods taste. With the discovery of Synepsalum dulcificum, better known as the Miracle Berry, this has been made possible (at least with sour foods).

Hailing from the fields of West Africa, this fruit was first discovered by European explorers who saw the locals chewing this berry before they ate each meal, which consisted of fermented wines and porridges that were very sour. More recently, researchers have begun investigating the berry's miraculous properties.

They found that as you bite into one of these berries, the juices that are absorbed by your tongue contain a protein called Miraculin (miraculous, right?). Miraculin protein has some sugars attached to it, that when processed by the taste receptors on your tongue, tell your brain that something sweet is being eaten. They can only be processed, however, when you consume sour foods such as pickles or lemons. 

Available to consumers in pill form, the Miracle Berry has made sweetness a reality. Being able to make unpalatable foods taste great, the Miracle Berry provided those looking to follow stricter diets and limit their sugar intake a viable alternative to eating unhealthy foods. Unfortunately, the FDA, to the delight of the junk food industry, prevented the berry from being classified as a substitute for sugar, in case it had addictive properties. There are some who believe a deal was made between sugar producers and the FDA as distribution of a berry like this could completely upend their consumer base (#conspiracytheories). And realistically, who wouldn't want their hot sauce to taste like doughnut glaze?

There are accounts of the many ways the Miracle Berry can transform the tastes of foods and drinks into delectable ones, without all of the guilt they are often associated with. Guinness beer was found to taste like chocolate milk, lemons range from lemonade to lemon sorbet, and goat cheese tastes like cream cheese frosting (all with the consumption of a single berry!). For those who have trouble staying away from sweets, this provides a great, natural alternative to food we often regret eating afterwards. 


From making bologna sandwiches taste like cake or making pickles taste like honey, this berry has a very real impact on how we perceive the taste of sour foods. I still think I would rather enjoy Sour Patches and Warheads on their own, but be sure to get your hands on some Miracle Berries for an unforgettable flavor miracle.