Facts for Family Farm Fanatics
All about "Brix"
Brix, or °Bx, is the way foodies, farmers, and scientists measure the amount of sugar in any given food. While some farms grow their fruit to have legs (That means it can survive a long distance travel) We grow to mature, which means the fruit is actually ripe! Brix is the way we prove that we grow for quality. But we aren't the only one who uses brix! It's especially popular in the wine, soda, maple syrup and honey industries for obvious reasons, but no where does it come in more handy than your local farm! While some farms may .mature green ripe tomatoes.
Brix r' Treat
Bricks are a measurement of sugar, but more accurately they are a measure of a percentage. When something has 1°Bx, that means that 1% of it's overall weight is sugar. Here at Murray Family Farms, we can regularly encounter cherries who have a brix level of 25 or more. But how sweet is a cherry with 25Bx? You can check out the Brix Graph to find out a little more about the average brix of most grocery store produce.
"But why are the Brix so low?"
While you may find our fruit has brix that is much higher than what is on this list, it's not because we are amazing (That is part of it though). It's mainly due to practices associated with picking produce for grocery stores. Produce high in sugar has a habit of breaking down quickly, therefor most produce is picked before it's ripened to allow the fruit an additional hardiness so that it survives the long trip by plane, truck, and hand cart until it finally reaches the dusty display at your local mini-mart.
"Hold on, there's sugar in Broccoli?"
Heck yes! There is probably sugar hiding in many of your favorite vegetables! The sugar hidden inside of Broccoli, Cabbage, and other pieces of produce is "Low GI" sugar. This means that it takes a while for the sugar to be released because your body has to break it down.
Have you ever wondered why steamed broccoli tastes so much different than fresh broccoli? The sugar within the broccoli is tricked into thinking it's already been eaten, and begins breaking down immediately. It's good to eat low GI sugars before they are broken down because it allows your body a steady stream of energy throughout the day for a nice boost in energy and a no crash! You can find Low GI sugar in berries as well!
"Who uses Brix?"
Farmers use Brix to measure the ripeness of their harvest.
Chefs use Brix to pick the right options for their menus.
Molasses farms use Brix to make sure that the molasses qualifies as "real". Molasses needs to be at least 42% sugar and no more than 24% water.
Bee farmers use Brix measurement to test the quality of honey retrieved from various flower types. This lets them select ideal places to set up boxes.
Winemakers will use Brix to determine whether a grape is too sweet or sweet enough to be made into alcohol. For every gram of sugar, you'll get half a gram of alcohol, so brix are especially important when brewing!
- The Brix Meter
We can't always trust our tongue to tell us the honest truth about how sweet something is. Have you ever eaten a cake or candy and then bit into a fruit? Even though the fruit may be very sweet, your tongue is judging off comparison. This is called "Comparison Bias". When making dishes at restaurants, most cooks need to know just how sweet a piece of fruit is. When you're buying fruit for the next weeks worth of dishes, you can't really try every fruit and make a decision because of comparison bias.
Where can I get a Brix Meter?
The absolute best place to get a Brix Meter is on Amazon, where there are a wide variety of choices available. If you click above you'll find the Atago Brix meter - It's absolutely top quality. The one linked is the best available price on the net so far! $200 cheaper than the prior one! The other would be the ADE Advanced Optic Brix Meter. This is a consumer model. The difference is just how much it can measure. The ADE can measure up to 25%, while the Atago can measure over 50%!
How does it work?
Brix meters are actually pretty amazing. You'll note that Atago and ADK are both Optical device makers, but this thing measures sugar. What gives? Well, a the proper name for a Brix Meter is a Refractometer. Refracto: For the way that light reflects, and meter: To measure. The brix meter tells you how much sugar there is in fruit by measuring light.
Yes way! Light moves through different substances at different speeds. If you put a straw in water, you'll see the straw looks bent and large. This is because not only does the light move slower, but it also bends. Brix meters work by measuring the bend in light after putting a drop of juice on the tip or "eye" of the meter. The bigger the bend in light, the more nutrients in the juice. The more nutrients in the juice, the more sugar!
Lessons for a lifetime
Using a Brix meter is a fun way to teach kids about eating healthy, and a whole suite of other awesome lessons. Exposing children to science just 5 times a year for 90 minutes increased test scores in every subject by 30%. Showing children that learning can be fun leaves a lifetime of benefit for children as young as second grade! Younger children can learn about the different vitamins, while more advanced students can learn about refraction. Growing a garden and testing the Brix of your own harvest is fun for all ages, and the consumer models listed above are only $25.00.
Using a brix meter is easy!
1. Make sure you don't have anything messing up your lens by cleaning and setting it with distilled water. This is "calibration".
2. Put a drop of juice on the "eye" of the meter.
3. Close the lid.
4. Make sure your meter can see the drop by checking the focus.
5. Read your meter!