It’s a Miracle, a fruit that can change sour foods to sweet! Such are the incredible properties of the miracle fruit. The miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) is a small shrub originating from West Africa, and was discovered by Europeans in 1725, when the explorer Chevalier des Marchais came across it on a botanical expedition in tropical West Africa.
The small red berry, which in itself is fairly tasteless, contains an active ingredient called Miraculin which when chewed makes sour food taste sweet. Having tasted the berries for myself while studying in the U.S, I can assure you that it does exactly that. After eating the berries, lemons taste like the sweetest orange you’ve ever had, beer tastes like cordial, and even vinegar tastes sweet!
If you would like to grow one of these amazing plants for yourself then you will need a warm, frost-free position which is sheltered from hot winds and afternoon sun. Miracle fruit need a very low pH level to thrive (between 6 and 4.5) and as such are often best to be grown in a pot using an azalea potting mix. Keep the plant moist but don’t let it become waterlogged.
It is important to note that Miracle Fruit will not survive a Melbourne winter in the ground, they must be grown in a pot and over-wintered either inside your house or in a heated greenhouse.
If the plant is protected from both extremes of hot and cold, you will be rewarded in a few years with a crop of the miraculous berries!
Miracle fruit are generally available from BAAG during the warmer months of the year.