Measuring Food Quality with a Brix Meter (Refractometer) ( Larry Howard )

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

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?

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?

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:


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


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

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