There is a tree commonly called the “Miracle Fruit Tree,” (Synsepaylum dulcificum), that bears small, red berries that will blow your mind!
Actually, it will “blow your taste buds.”
Miracle fruit berries have the ability to alter your taste perception of all sour or acidic food so that they taste sweet.
Not just “sweet,” VERY sweet.
Imagine biting into a lemon without puckering because it tastes like sweet lemonade.
Or, lusting for a sweet ripe tomato but all you have is a bland, flavorless one?
That tomato can become the sweetest tomato you’ve ever tasted if you have a miracle fruit berry first.
After a minute of swirling a miracle fruit berry on your tongue, lemons, grapefruits, limes, pineapples, unripe tomatoes, vinegar, even hot sauce will be magically transformed into sweetened concoctions, without the addition of sugar.
Calorie free sweetening at it’s best and best of all, it’s natural!
Goat cheese tastes like cheesecake and black coffee and unsweetened chocolate taste decadently sweet after sucking on a miracle fruit berry!
Does this sound a little like “food tripping?”
Aside from the fun demonstrations that you can astound your friends with, the miracle fruit berry has some vital health implications.
After receiving a “pre-diabetes” warning from my doctor, I’m reducing my consumption of excess sugar and the miracle berry is a perfect aid.
I can skip the teaspoons, (or is it tablespoons?) of sugar in my coffee and tea by adding a squeeze of lemon to the already acidic drink so that it will taste sweet.
I’ve read various articles where chemotherapy patients are using miracle berries to mask the metallic taste in their mouths caused by the medications so they can regain their appetite.
Therapeutic use of the miracle berries are the most compelling for me to have a miracle tree in my plant collection.
HOW MIRACLE BERRIES WORK
Miracle fruit has a chemical, or “glycoprotein” called “Miraculin” that coats the taste receptors in the tongue.
Miraculin blocks the sour taste buds and accentuates the sweet taste buds, making the tongue register sour tastes as sweet tastes.
Miraculin itself has no taste at all and the berry is pleasant but has no remarkable flavor.
You pop a berry in your mouth and swirl it around your tongue for a minute, biting into the pulp, avoiding swallowing the seed.
Once you’ve sucked all the fibers of the pulp from the seed, spit out the clean seed.
Your palate is now ready to enjoy the altered taste of sour or acidic foods.
The sensation lasts for about an hour and I’ve noticed that popping more than one berry at a time doesn’t increase the effect.
Save your money, enjoy one berry at a time.
WHERE TO BUY MIRACLE BERRIES
I mentioned “saving your money” because these berries are expensive and priced on par with some pricey medications.
The economic principle of “supply and demand” is at work with miracle berries: few miracle fruit tree growers, special shipping conditions, demand from berry enthusiasts, all contribute to inflated prices for berries.
Coupled with a high perishable rate for the berry, (it begins to degrade within 2 days of harvesting), and lack of far-reaching consumer awareness of the berry, there are few retailers that stock them.
Miracle berries are purchased frozen, freeze-dried, or in concentrated tablet form from an online retailer.
I can’t recommend a particular source as I haven’t ordered them from an online store before; I suggest searching for a site with good reviews.
The miracle berries that I’ve used came directly from the tree grower, PlantOGram.com in Florida.
PlantOGram supplied the beautiful specimen trees that I used in my TV presentation for the Home & Family show, on the Hallmark channel recently.
When you order the miracle berries online, you’ll find prices ranging anywhere from $1.5 to $3 per berry or tablet!
With prices like these, I recommend growing your own miracle fruit tree so you can enjoy a year-round crop of berries that can number in the hundreds!
HOW TO GROW A MIRACLE FRUIT TREE AS A HOUSEPLANT
Native to western Africa, the miracle fruit tree is the Synsepaylum dulcificum tree, and yes, it’s important to know the botanical latin name or you may search for the wrong plant!
Some common names for the tree include “miracle fruit tree,” “miracle berries,” “sweet berries,” but these names are not exclusive to the Synsepaylum dulcificum tree.
As an outdoor, in-ground landscape plant, the miracle fruit tree has specific growing conditions that few places outside of southern, sub-tropical Florida can offer.
Outdoors, the miracle fruit tree needs morning sun and protected shade during the hottest part of the day, well draining soil with an acidic ph, and high humidity.
But, I CAN grow the miracle fruit tree as an edible container plant on my covered patio when temperatures are above 50 degrees, or grow it indoors as a houseplant year-round!
Those of you who live in cold climate areas can grow the miracle fruit tree in pots outdoors in the spring and bring it indoors when temperatures dip.
I vote for the majority of the population outside of Florida to grow the miracle tree plant as an indoor houseplant or greenhouse plant where you can control the environment.
SELECT A BRIGHT ROOM
Find a bright spot indoors where your miracle fruit tree can have natural or supplemental light throughout the day.
Southern exposure or eastern or western exposure are good.
Locate your plant so that it is not in the direct path of your heater vent or frequent drafts as the forced air can dry your plant.
SELECT A WELL DRAINING ACIDIC SOIL BLEND
Select a plastic or non-porous container that is one size larger than the growing pot from the nursery and fill it with a 50/50 mix of acidic peat moss and perlite.
The peat moss contributes to the acidic soil conditions the plant needs and the perlite is a lightweight medium that drains water away from the roots.
The miracle fruit tree must never have water ponding around its roots or it can rot.
WATER EVERY 2-3 DAYS/DAILY MISTING
Water every 2-3 days or as needed with non-chlorinated water when the soil begins to feel dry to the touch.
Give your plant enough water so you see the water draining into the saucer underneath.
If you are in the midst of a rainy season, collect rain water for your tree, it will thank you.
The miracle fruit tree is a tropical plant and does best when you supply an amicable environment with plenty of humidity.
Misting your plants on a daily basis, (especially when heaters or air conditioners are on) is very important.
Humidifiers are convenient, especially if you already use one for your own comfort.
You can also create a micro-climate around the plant by surrounding the tree with clear plastic, supported by a few stakes inserted in the soil.
Grouping plants together seems to help maintain ambient humidity around them as well.
The natural, active growing phase for the miracle tree is when daylight is longer and air temperatures are higher, usually in the summer.
Fertilizing during the growing season supplies nutrients to your plant to help it grow, flower, and fruit.
As an indoor plant, the natural growing period for the tree is regulated by controlled indoor conditions and not the outdoor climate.
The growing period of an indoor miracle tree can be year round if the light and temperature conditions of the room are consistent.
Fertilize your plant with an organic, slow-release “azalea/camellia” type fertilizer for acid loving plants according to the directions on the label.
THE MIRACLE BERRY CROP HARVEST
Miracle fruit trees typically begin to fruit in their third year and put out 3 or 4 crops throughout the year supplying hundreds of berries!
For the miracle fruit enthusiast, a steady supply of miracle fruit from their own tree represents huge financial savings.
The fruit crop is preceded by a flowering period that is encouraged by periodic, gentle shaking of the trees to aid in pollination.
The trees are self-pollinating, but there are no birds and bees indoors to help disperse the pollen, so you can be the “mover and shaker.”
Harvest the berries when they’re red and freeze or dry them for later use as they degrade within a few days.
Miracle fruit berries are viable in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Miracle fruit trees are very slow-growing, especially when grown in containers.
A 10-year-old tree may reach six feet and stay at that height for many years as a beautiful, evergreen plant.
Repotting to a larger container is only necessary when the roots begin to displace soil at which time, you can re-pot in a container one size bigger.
If you have a suitable spot in your home, consider growing a miracle fruit tree as an alternative to the common Ficus plant; it’s much more interesting and will reward you with valuable berries!
As a foodie gardener, the miracle fruit tree is a “must-have” in my edible plant collection.
I hope you’ll consider one for your home and enjoy the many rewards of this exciting and miraculous plant!
You can purchase Miracle Fruit trees directly from PlantOGram.com and use the coupon code MIRACLE20 from December 11 through December 18, 2015 for a 20% discount!