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The táami berry (Synsepalum dulcificum), sometimes known as miracle fruit, miracle berry, magic berry, asaa and ledidi, is a small red fruit native to the West African country of Ghana. The berries contain a protein known as Miraculin that has the ability to modify one’s perception of flavors making sour and bitter flavors taste sweet and delicious. They are quite similar to cranberries in appearance and contain a large seed in their interior. The taste is relatively nondescript but has been described as tart and slightly sweet, leaving a pleasant taste in the mouth.
The táami berry grows on a somewhat small tree of up to 15 feet. It contains medium sized ovular leaves of roughly four to five inches long that crowd at the end of its branches and contain numerous small brown and white flowers that are produced in the axils of the leaves. The táami tree is fairly slow growing, but upon reaching maturity at 2 years of age, produces berries practically year-round, with two heavier crop loads that take place after the rainy seasons.
The táami berry’s pulp contains a glycoprotein called Miraculin, a name that was derived from the seemingly miraculous affect that it has on one’s palate. When consumed, the amino acids and carbohydrates in Miraculin gently bind to tongue’s taste buds stimulating a remarkable transformation in the way acidic flavors are perceived. Acidity in food and drink is generally perceptible as sourness and bitterness, but when combined with Miraculin, the signal sent to our brains is that of sweetness. Thus, for anywhere from 20 minutes up to 2 hours, anything containing acidity such as lemons, limes and many other tart fruits will be made to taste significantly sweeter. Because glycoproteins are sensitive to heat, Miraculin loses its ability to modify flavor perceptions after it has been heated over 100° Fahrenheit.
At The Flavor of Change, we harvest our táami berries directly from their natural environment in Ghana. The berries are immediately inspected for quality and then frozen. A portion of the harvest is then shipped directly to our headquarters in San Francisco, CA. The rest are sent to be de-pulped, freeze dried and crushed into a form that will also be shipped to our offices. Once we receive the shipments, we mix the crushed táami berry with 100% pure strawberry and send it off to be packaged. Our product line currently includes this crushed mixture as well as the frozen, whole berry.
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