31st January, 2022

Bloomhill Cancer Care clients received an unusual gift this month. 

If you are experiencing changes in taste as a result of cancer treatments, as many clients do, please come and collect some Rubyberrys (also known as Miracle Fruit), and let us know if they help you.

Rubyberrys are a taste modifying small fruit, the flesh of which is edible. They are known to mask the metallic or bland taste experienced by many people following cancer treatments.

Bloomhill has a plentiful supply in our freezer thanks to a donation by growers Chris Beckwith and Karen Pereira from Childers. But they only last four weeks so please come and collect if you are interested!

“If you suck the berry, anything sour or acidic will taste incredibly sweet. You suck off the flesh, don’t chew the seed, and just have one at a time,” Chris said.

It takes between two and five minutes for the glycoprotein, Miraculin, to bind the sweet receptors on your tongue,

“In most cases this will temporarily masked a disturbed taste,” Karen said.

“We’ve heard people with bland taste sensation say, a pizza tastes just like the cardboard box,” Chris said. “Some people with a metallic taste might be experiencing that metallic taste even when they’re not eating anything.”

The taste enhancing properties of this fruit, named Miraculin, were first written about in The British Pharmaceutical Journal in the 1850s and referred to as the “Miraculous Berry” hence Miracle fruit.

“It’s not a new discovery – and we know many nursing staff recommend it, they are very engaged with their patients,” Chris said.

“If your clients find it useful we would be happy to continue supplying them.”

Chris and Karen established the first Australian commercial plantation of Rubyberrys in far north Queensland, but recently moved their entire orchard to Childers, where the environment is more favourable to commence the next stage, production.

“We have a huge number of berries which are ripe, and if we don’t use them, they’ll fall on the ground and be wasted,” Chris said.

Chris and Karen had gifted the Cairns Organisation United for Cancer Health (COUCH) with Rubyberry Trees, where they were warmly received. 

If you would like to try the berries, please bring an esky with ice, and a tea towel or two to wrap the fruit as it can’t be placed directly on ice.

Bloomhill clients are welcome to collect some fruit from the freezer in the kitchen at Bloomhill’s wellness centre, 58 Ballinger Rd, Buderim. Please phone reception on 07 5445 5794 for more information.