Miracle Fruit

Last Friday, the regulars at the IT Policy reading group meeting tried something completely different. Instead of discussing the paper of the week, the meeting became an event to sample sour foods before and after eating miraculin, an extract of miracle fruit. (For pictures and additional details, see Ed Felten’s blog entry.) In a nutshell, miraculin binds to a receptor on one’s tongue and has the effect of making sour things taste sweet.

We tried lemons, limes, and grapefruit. For me, the lemons actually ended up tasting too sweet — a bit like oversweetened lemonade. The limes were good (although, I like limes anyway). The grapefruit was outstanding. Admittedly, I like grapefruit and we started with good fruit; however, the modified taste was sweet with just enough of the original acidity. It was better than eating grapefruit with sugar or honey because the sweetness was uniform and the original texture of the fruit was unchanged (no sugar grit or syrup).

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