Do you know ” miracle bay “? At first glance, it looks a lot like an ordinary red fruit. But this berry is today a very coveted fruit of the gastronomic elite because it has the incredible effect of suppressing the sensations of acidity and bitterness and changing the perception of the taste of food…in short, a fruit totally amazing for your taste buds!
A “magic fruit” with promising prospects!
Miracle fruit or miraculous fruit ( Synsepalum dulcificum or Sideroxylon dulcificum danielli ) is a species of tree in the family Sapotaceae native to West Africa . Its fruit, the “miracle fruit”, contains a glycoprotein – miraculin – which has the effect of suppressing the sensations of acidity and bitterness of food for 30 to 60 minutes .
The berry itself, of low sugar content, has a not very pronounced, rather pleasant sour flavor, reminiscent of cranberries .
The name “miracle fruit” is also given to Gymnema sylvestre and katemfe ( Thaumatococcus daniellii ), which are two other species of plants used to modify the perceived sweetness of food.
The first mention of the plant is from 1725, by Reynaud des Marchais . In his reports, he mentions African tribes consuming these fruits before meals in order to improve the taste of their often acidic foods and drinks.
The first botanical description was in 1852 by Dr. WF Daniell . It was he who gave the berry its current name: miracle fruit (miracle fruit), because he considered the change in taste miraculous.
- Tree growth is slow. It can reach 6 meters.
- Its oval-shaped leaves are dark green in color.
- Its flowering lasts from August to December and its small white flowers give rise to many red oval-shaped fruits 2 to 3 cm long , ripe from October to April. Their white, tart pulp contains a single seed.
In the 1970s , an American entrepreneur named Robert Harvey, attempted to market miraculin on a large scale in the United States under the name Miralin. But the FDA blocked the development of this new natural sweetener because no non-toxicity test had been carried out. At the same time, aspartame was authorized. In 2016, the marketing of miraculin is still not authorized in the United States and in Europe (where it is classified in the “ Novel foods ” category) but it is in Japan 3 .
Miraculin is beginning to be used to sweeten bitter drugs, particularly in oncology , since, at the end of 2005, a Japanese researcher found a way to preserve this very quickly perishable fruit by freeze-drying it 4 . In Accra , Ghana, farmers make tablets from the juice of the fruit, which is first frozen and then dehydrated.
Where does this “miracle berry” totally unknown in Europe come from?
Originally from West Africa, this berry grows on a tree of the Sapotaceae family, which bears the name of Synsepalum dulcificum. Able to reach up to 6 meters in height in its natural environment, its flowering lasts from August to December and its small white flowers give rise to numerous red oval-shaped fruits 2 to 3 cm long, ripe from October to april.