The miracle berry contains an unusual protein that tricks the taste buds lining the tongue. So foods that usually taste sour, bitter or savory suddenly taste sweet and this taste-altering effect lasts for up to two hours. The key ingredient is miraculin, the protein that produces the interesting taste-switching effect. Miraculin was first identified by scientists in 1968, although locals in West Africa have munched on these berries for centuries – usually before meals to make their food more palatable, according to Good Health Australia (April 2018). Supported by the Friends of the Monroe Library.