The miracle berry is also known as Synsepalum dulcificum and the miracle berry plant. Miracle berries consist of active polyphenols. They are notable for making sour foods (such as lemons and limes) taste sweet right after consumption of the berries. The fruit originates in Ghana, Africa.
Miracle berries have low levels of sugar and a moderately sweet flavor. The berries consist of an active glycoprotein molecule as well as various trailing carbohydrate chains, called miraculin. The fruit's flesh is consumed, the active glycoprotein molecule attaches itself to the taste buds on the tongue, resulting in sour substances tasting significantly sweeter (similar to the sweetness that is produced by artificial sweeteners). This sweetness effect remains for between 15 minutes and one hour, roughly.
Although Europeans first discovered miracle fruit in the 1700s, it had a comeback in the public conscious during the 1970s. Plans for many different miracle fruit products were in development, including miracle berry ice lollies, fruit gum and candy. The lollipops contained zero sugar. At the time, the Food and Drug Administration banned miracle berries until further research had been applied toward it.
Miracle berry plants thrive when they are cultivated with low pH levels, preferably between 4.5 and 5.8. The berries should be grown in areas that do not experience frost. The berries work best when grow in high humidity and partial shade. The plants produce fruit after two to three years. They require acidic soil.
Miracle fruits are evergreen trees or bushes that, in their natural habitat, can grow to be up to 18 feet tall. The plant has elongated, dark green foliage that grows in a fashion similar to that of a spire. The plant has tiny (1/4 inch across) flowers that appear in flushes throughout the year.
Diseases and Pests
Miracle fruit is particularly susceptible to pests such as spider mites, mealybugs and other insects that are common with indoor potted plants. Miracle plants that are waterlogged are prone to developing root-rot disease.