Maybe you’ve heard of the miracle fruit before. This little berry that was originally discovered in 1725 in West Africa contains a molecule called miraculin that, when eaten before something sour, has the amazing ability to make it taste sweet.
The New York Times recently did a piece about about “Flavor Tripping” parties where the attendees eat the fruit, then a host of other odd combinations of citrus fruits and condiments. Miracle fruit is getting quite a bit of press these days, but what you might now know is this is miracle fruit’s second 15 minutes of fame. In the 1970s a pill was being developed from the mircle fruit to help foods taste delicious with no caloric consequences when the project was sabotaged via burglary and political strong-arming, most likely by the sugar industry. This and many other stories are included in Adam Leith Gollner’s revelatory book, The Fruit Hunters.
Fruit might seem like a dull subject, and something you already know enough about, but Gollner’s stories about his travels around the world tasting exotic tropical fruits and meeting a strange roster of members from the fruit-obsessed community are endlessly facinating. Fruit Hunters is not just a story about fruit, but politics, adventure, history and the extreme dedication to the pursuit of fruit.