Aptly-Named ‘Miracle Berry’ Makes Even the Sourest of Things Taste Sweet

Synsepalum dulcificum, aka the miracle fruit or miracle berry, is a unique plant known to produce fruits that, when eaten, make all sour foods and drinks subsequently ingested taste sweet.

For centuries, indigenous tribes of Ghana, in West Africa, used the fruits of the Synsepalum dulcificum plant to sweeten sour or tart fruits, foods, and drinks, but it wasn’t until 1968 that the miraculin protein that makes the fruits special was finally extracted and turned into tablets. That made it possible for virtually anyone in the world to experience the “taste tripping” that miracle berries are so famous for. Miraculin essentially alters your senses, causing things that should taste sour, like lemon or vinegar, to taste sweet, or even too sweet for up to 60 minutes after the protein is consumed.

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Mojie Ringo – Using Sunlight to Turn Apples Into Edible Works of Art

‘Mojie Ringo’ is a Japanese technique of harnessing the power of the sun to create beautifully decorated apples without the use of any sort of chemicals.

For centuries, apple growers in Japan’s Aomori Prefecture have been creating stunning heirloom apples by using the mojie ringo technique. The process is fairly simple, as basically implies depriving the apples of sunlight for a period of time and then applying stencils to ensure that some portion of the apple peel remains discolored. Most often than not, mojie ringo apples are decorated with messages and symbols of good fortune and prosperity, and are offered as gifts.

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Gangina – The Afghan Way of Keeping Grapes Fresh For Up to Six Months

Gangina is a traditional means of keeping grapes and other fruits fresh for several months, by sealing them in air-tight containers made of wet soil.

Grapes are tricky to keep fresh for long periods of time, even when refrigeration is available, but apparently Afghans have long been using an ancient method of keeping the soft fruits fresh for consumption in the winter months, when fresh fruits are otherwise hard to come by. Called gangina, this ingenious conservation technique involves sealing healthy grapes in a saucer-like container made of two layers of wet soil. The container is left in the sun to dry and then has to be kept in a cool place, away from direct sunlight. If stored properly, gangina containers can keep grapes picked in autumn fresh until next year’s spring season.

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Coquitos – The Tiny Coconuts of the Chilean Wine Palm

Coquitos, also known as pigmy coconuts or dwarf coconuts, are the tiny equivalent of the coconuts we all know (and some of us love).

It’s hard to believe that I spent over three decades on this Earth and only learned that there is such a thing as a tiny, marble-sized coconut, today. Well, it may be common knowledge to a lot of people – especially if you’re from, or have travelled to South America – but it’s definitely news to me, so I thought I’d share it with similarly clueless people like myself. Known as coquitos, these miniature coconuts are the fruit of  Jubaea chilensis, a feather-leaved palm native to Chile, and, just like regular coconuts, they have a brown exterior, a white interior with a hollow center, and very similar taste.

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Rare Grape Variety Is Larger Than a Chicken Egg

Pictures of giant grapes, larger than the average chicken egg, have been doing the rounds on Vietnamese social media this week, raising questions about their authenticity and origin.

Novelty fruits are particularly popular in Japan, where specialized shops can sell certain varieties of apples, peaches, melons or grapes for mind-boggling prices. However, the popularity of such fruits has spread throughout Asia, and recently the Vietnamese owner of a market stall shared some photos of a new variety of grapes imported from Japan. Using social media to promote new products is fairly standard these days, only these photos got a lot more attention than usual, because of the apparent size of the grapes. Some of these white grapes seemed to be larger than a chicken egg.

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Japan’s Square Watermelons – Nice to Look at But Hard to Swallow

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you’ve probably seen pictures of Japan’s square watermelons doing the rounds online. I know I have, but what I never knew was that these weird-looking fruit are basically inedible.

Perfectly sized and shaped fruits are big business in Japan, and it’s not uncommon for the rarest and most coveted varieties to sell for thousands of dollars a piece. Back in 2016, a supermarket owner made international news headlines after paying $11,000 for a bunch of Ruby Rose grapes, the world’s most expensive grape variety. But it’s not just grapes, specialty fruit shops charge hundreds, even thousands of dollars for fruits of all types, which may seem strange, but it is closely tied to Japanese culture. Rare and expensive fruits are traditionally offered as gifts to clients, business partners or relatives, and people will gladly spend a small fortune on a single fruit just to show their respect for someone. But while most of these expensive fruits can be savored by the recipient, there is one that has a purely decorative purpose – square watermelons.

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Social Distancing Has People So Bored They Are Littering Counting Seeds in Pieces of Fruit

Having to spend days on end indoors has so people so incredibly bored that they are coming up with all kinds of bizarre ways of passing the time.

Case in point one Vietnamese math student who recently spent a day meticulously extracting every single seed from a piece of dragon fruit and presenting her finding online. “So far, I found out that in a piece of dragon fruit weighing 13,867g (height: 46mm, length: 32mm) has up to 245 seeds and that, on average, a seed weighs 0.0045322449g ,” the student wrote on Facebook.

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Finger Lime – The Rare and Super Expensive Caviar of Citrus

Shaped more like a like a jalapeno pepper than a citrus fruit, the small finger lime yields tiny caviar-like pearls that burst with flavor when you bite into them.

Originating from the lowland subtropical rainforests of coastal Australia, Citrus australasica, or the Australian finger lime has become one of the most sough-after ingredients by Michelin star restaurants around the world. It’s not that they taste radically different than regular limes or lemons – in fact their flavor is described as a combination of the two – but the texture of their pulp really makes all the difference. Somewhat similar to the pomelo, these tiny citrus fruits contain caviar-like pearls that can be used to garnish posh dishes, ensuring a burst of acidic flavor when a person bites into them. Hence the nickname “caviar of citrus” and the crazy price tag that comes with it.

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Ruby Roman – The World’s Most Expensive Grape Variety

There are hundreds of grape varieties cultivated in japan, but only one so coveted that it can sell for several hundreds of dollars per grape (that’s individual grape, not bunch). The Ruby Roman was developed in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture and is considered one of the world’s most expensive fruits.

The story of  Ruby Roman began in 1995, when Ishikawa grape farmers appealed to the Prefectural Agricultural Research Center to create a large red grape variety. 400 experimental vines were planted into a test field, and two years later, they started bearing fruit. However, out of the 400 vines, only 4 turned out to be red grapes, and only one of them was deemed large enough to meet the farmers’ expectations. Over the next 14 years, researchers selectively bred this grape variety, constantly enhancing its size, taste, color and ease of cultivation, and today Ruby Roman is considered a “treasure of Ishikawa”.

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Black Diamond Apples – The Rare, Dark Fruits You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Apples are generally red, green, yellow or a combination of the three, but if the right geographical conditions are met, they can apparently grow dark purple, almost black, as well. These rare apples are called Black Diamond and they are currently only grown in the mountains of Tibet.

Black Diamond apples are a breed of Hua Niu apples (also known as Chinese Red Delicious) that get their unique dark purple color from the geographical conditions of Nyingchi, in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The 50-hectare orchard set up her by Chinese company Dandong Tianluo Sheng Nong E-Commerce Trade Co., Ltd. has an elevation of 3100 meters above sea level, making it the ideal place to grow these intriguing fruit. The temperature differences between day and night are significant, and the fruits get a lot of sunlight and ultraviolet light which causes their skin to go from the characteristic deep red of Hua Niu apples, to dark purple.

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This Tiny Sticker Can Allegedly Keep Fruits Fresh for Up to 14 Days

Food waste is one the greatest challenges of our time, and fruits and vegetables are particularly problematic, as an estimated 52% of harvests go bad before reaching consumers. But one Malaysian company claims to have come up with a simple and effective solution to this problem – a tiny sticker that keeps fruits from spoiling for up to two weeks.

You’ve probably seen stickers on fruits before, but not like the ones created by Stixfresh. Those common stickers are used solely to provide consumers with information about the grower and how the fruit was grown, but Stixfresh has a completely different purpose. It contains a special, all-natural formula that slows down the ripening process, keeping the fruit fresh and juicy for much longer.

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Man Claims That Eating Only Fruit for Eight Years Has Made Him Superhuman

Mizuki Nakano, a former professor at the University of Tokyo, in Japan, has been consuming only fruit for the last eight years, even shunning water and relying on fruit juices for hydration. He recently came on a Japanese TV show to say that his fruit-only diet has caused his body to somehow convert nitrogen in the air into the protein it needs.

In September of 2009, Mizuki Nakano decided to see what would happen to his body if he consumed nothing but fruit all day, every day. Even back then, the scientific consensus was that a balanced diet that contained enough protein, fat and carbohydrates was the best way to go, and that relying solely on fruits for nutrition would deprive the body of needed nutrients and potentially cause serious health problems. But Nakano noticed that there was no scientific research on the long-term effects of eating only fruits, so he started an experiment with himself as the guinea pig.

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Japanese Farmers Develop “Incredible” Banana with Edible Skin

Fruit farmers in Okayama, Japan, have managed to make peeling a banana optional by developing a special variety with edible skin. The peel of their “Mongee Banana” is not particularly tasty, but it is considerably thinner and far less bitter than that of regular bananas, making it 100% edible.

To create the incredible Mongee – which is actually Okayama slang for ‘incredible – scientists at D&T Farm, in Okayama Prefecture, developed an innovative method called “Freeze Thaw Awakening” which involves recreating conditions from 20,000 years ago, at the end of the ice age, when plants would emerge from harsh winter temperatures to grow. They froze banana saplings to -60 degrees Celsius, planting them again as they began to thaw. This apparently activated an ancient part of their DNA, which not only allows the plant to thrive in Japan’s cool climate, but also accelerates its development. While tropical varieties of banana require two years to grow large enough for consumption, the Mongee banana needs just four months.

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Fruit Grower Creates Apples That Don’t Turn Brown When Cut or Bruised

Arctic Apple is the world’s first genetically engineered apple that doesn’t turn brown after being cut or bruised. It was developed by Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits and is already being sold in select grocery stores.

When the cells of conventional apples are damaged, such as when they are cut, bitten into or bruised, an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PPO) initiates a chemical reaction that turns the flesh of the fruit brown. Some apple varieties brown faster than others, while others have a lower degree of browning, due to varying levels of PPO, but the Arctic Apple is the world’s first non-browning apple. Its flesh will retain its fresh, appealing color even days after being sliced, which Okanagan Specialty Fruits claims will increase apple consumption and decrease food waste.

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Genetically-Modified Pink Pineapples Are Coming to a Grocery Store Near You

Thanks to genetic engineering, pink pineapple isn’t just a product of Photoshop, anymore. It’s an actual product and it’s coming to a grocery store near you, very soon.

Del Monte Fresh Produce, one of the world’s largest produce suppliers, has been working on pink pineapple for over a decade, and in December of last year, the company got permission from the FDA to sell them in the United States. Del Monte has already partnered with Dole, to have the new pink fruit grown in Costa Rica and Hawaii, and while it hasn’t reached store shelves just yet, photos of the unusual-looking pineapple have been popping up on online social networks lately.

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