How do you take something so sour that it makes your face pucker and make it sweet? Well, in short, you get yourself some Miracle Fruit and pair it with the most sour, bitter tasting thing you can find. Voila! You have just made something sweet and delicious out of bitterness. However, reality doesn't always have Miracle Fruit handy. It takes much more than a magical piece of fruit.
My husband and I were introduced to miracle fruit on vacation on Manasota Key, Florida. We left a week after my surgery, while we were still processing our loss and my body was still recovering. Life was feeling a little bitter. Our pre-planned vacation couldn't have come at a better time. I wanted to pretend that life was "fine" and that we had not just endured something so emotionally and physically painful. However, the truth is, pretending can only take you so far. I knew that the ocean was my happy place and I felt my soul would benefit from being on the ocean-and it did.
The weather was warm and sunny. The ocean was the perfect shade of blue-green. It was quiet, peaceful, and we didn't have to surround ourselves with lots of people. While we were there we got to know our hostess a bit (we love meeting new people when we travel and it's natural for us to strike up conversation.) Our host was a pharmacist who also had an interest in medicinal plants. He had a beautiful, luscious, and tropical garden oasis that our little guest house was nestled in the middle of. It really was the perfect get away and healing place. That's where we were introduced to miracle fruit.
Tiny, but mighty; this small, bean-like, fruit had a large pit and very little fruit on it. We were instructed to eat the fruit (not much to fill up on) and then bite into a lemon! We like to believe we are a little adventurous - so we did. The fruit itself did not have much flavor; slightly sweet, but not much to write home about. Then we bit into the lemon --pure sweetness! We ended up EATING the entire lemon, it was so good! Who knew?!
We have since shared our experience with the miracle fruit with a few people after returning home, never really thinking too much about it. It wasn't until August (six weeks later), that I started to think about that small little piece of fruit again.
How can something so small, and seemingly insignificant, take the most bitter thing and turn it sweet?
My studious mind had to do a little research on this fruit:
According to a website; Rxlist.com, Miracle fruit is an evergreen shrub that grows in West Africa. The berry of the miracle fruit plant is what can be used for medicinal purposes. People may take miracle fruit to aide in diabetes and correct chemotherapy-related taste disturbances. In foods, miracle fruit can be used as a low-calorie sugar-free sweetener. Because it contains a chemical that affects taste receptors in the tongue, it makes the tongue register sour tastes as sweet. Even more interesting, this little fruit is technically ille
gal here in the United States! It was banned in the 60s by the FDA, according to MiamiNewTimes.com due to pressure from the sugar industry. (Don't even get me started on how a healthy, safe alternative to sweetener and sugar is banned because of the money the sugar industry would lose --insert giant eyeroll).
Despite the political issue surrounding this fruit and its interesting effect on foods and medicinal purposes, I am reminded of the bitterness that turned into something sweet. Yep, I'm about to go deep here...
....to be continued.