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Measuring Food Quality with a Brix Meter (refractometer). April 17, 2008 Larry Howard Bloomington Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Brix – What is it?. °Brix is the ratio of Total Soluble Solids (TSS) to water in solution

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measuring food quality with a brix meter refractometer

Measuring Food Quality with a Brix Meter (refractometer)

April 17, 2008

Larry Howard

Bloomington Chapter

of the

Weston A. Price Foundation

brix what is it
Brix – What is it?
  • °Brix is the ratio of Total Soluble Solids (TSS)to water in solution
  • 25° Bx = 25% TSS by weight (e.g. 25 grams of solids to 75 grams of water)
  • The “sap”or juice squeezed from the leaves of plants contains mostly sugar molecules but also smaller amounts of minerals, amino acids, vitamins, plant hormones, and proteins.
brix how is it measured
Brix – How is it measured?
  • A refractometer – a device with a prism, a numeric scale and an eyepiece
  • a 2-3 drops of plant juice are squeezed onto the prism and a demarcated line is viewed on the scale
why brix
Why Brix?
  • Higher Brix – higher nutrient density (assumption)
  • Higher Brix – better taste (widely acknowledged)
  • Higher Brix – resistance to rotting
  • Higher Brix – resistance to disease
  • Higher Brix – resistance to frost
  • Higher Brix – Higher Quality!

(Useful Link: http://www.tandjenterprises.com/brix_equals_quality.htm)

variables
Variables
  • Plant hydration – a heat stressed plant, hot windy conditions, or dehydrated plant sample can affect results
    • dehydration of the plant or the sample leads to false high readings
  • Temperature – calibration at 68° F
    • theoretically, higher temps  lower reading, lower temp  higher reading
experiments
Experiments
  • Fruits/veg from different sources
  • Same produce, fresh vs. aged
  • Same plant, different times of day
  • Same plant, differing weather conditions
  • Different plant varieties
  • “Skins-on” vs. Skins Off
purchasing
Purchasing
  • ~20$ -- 300$ and up
  • Google  Shopping  “Brix refractometer”
  • Technika -- ~$55
  • Features
    • scale – 0 – 30 Bx is desirable
    • digital vs. manual readout
    • auto temperature calibration, manual temp. calibration or no calibration (must use a table)
    • Specs: accuracy (+/- %) and precision (1°, .1°, etc.)
sample results
Sample Results
  • Earthbound Farm Organic baby carrots – 5
  • Grimmway Farms Organic whole carrots – 9
  • Tomorrow’s Organic Russet Potatoes – 7.5
  • Celery – 3
  • Lacto-fermented cucumber relish – 8
  • Oregon Tall Fescue – 9
  • Juice from supermarket orange – 11.2
  • Saturated salt solution at 69°F – 27.5
social hazards tips
Social Hazards (tips)
  • Poor results are common – don’t despair
  • Work for improvement not perfection: from poorfairgoodvery goodexcellent
  • Careful when assessing other’s products/gardens!
  • Offer to pay for samples, explain yourself, right to refuse (“I’m looking for a higher sugar content”)
brix chart partial
Brix Chart (partial)

from International Ag Labs, originally produced by Dr. Carey Reams