Pour Some Sugar On Me

www.leichic.comFairy tale ideas you’ve long since given up on: a land where you never grow up (or – presumably – old), a glass slipper that somehow attracts the most handsome and successful men, and that spoonful of sugar that makes bitter medicine delightful.

Not so fast on that last one.

There is a red berry that can make everything sour taste sweet. It exists. Yes, really.

It’s called miracle fruit, and the small red berries contain a chemical that reacts with your taste buds, causing acids to taste sweet. After eating just one berry, sucking a lemon wedge suddenly tastes like eating a lemon Starburst. The effect lasts anywhere from 20 minutes up to two hours, and it affects only foods that taste sour – salty foods and other flavors are unchanged

Imagine getting your 3 p.m. sugar fix from  half a grapefruit, which suddenly tastes like a sweet ruby orange. Even mildly tart foods like goat cheese or cream cheese taste like cheesecake.

Miracle fruit trees are native to Africa, but because they flourish in humid tropical environments, they grow well in Hawai‘i. Nurseries all over the state grow them and you can easily have one of your own – the trees are happy in a planter living on your lanai. They grow slowly, though, and don’t fruit for a year or two, but once they do, you’ll have berries every few months, all year round.

Meanwhile you can check with nurseries periodically to see if berries are available.

And make plans for your next afternoon happy sour.

Miracle fruit trees are available at Frankie’s Nursery in Waimanalo, 41-999 Mahiku Place, 808.259.8737, www.frankiesnursery.com . The berries alone can be purchased for $1 each when the nursery picks them, every few months throughout the year, depending on when the trees fruit. Trees are also available at Plant It Hawaii, in Kurtistown on the Big Island, 808.966.6633, www.plantithawaii.com