For those new to our CSA this season, you may not have heard us use the term Brix. Brix is the ratio of Total Soluble Solids (TSS) to water in solution and is used within the industry to measure the sucrose level in fruits and vegetables as an indicator on how sweet it is. Brix is actually more complex than simply measuring sweetness though, it also measures micro-nutrients, and some recent literature indicates that a fruit’s rating is related to the health of the soil in which it is grown. For a little more detail on Brix, see our February 25th Newsletter in the archives.
At Frog Hollow, we use Brix measurements to determine a fruit’s readiness for harvest. Over the years Farmer Al has established a minimum threshold of ripeness for each of the varieties we grow because each variety has its own nuances and capacities. We thought it would be fun to share with you some Brix measurements of a few fruits you’ve recently had in your boxes.
Brix categories range between Very Low, Low, Medium, High, and Very High. In general, the higher the degrees Brix, the better tasting the fruit.
We measured four Dapple Dandy Pluots and they ranged between 15-19 degrees Brix. The 14-16 range is considered to be high Brix and the 16.01 and up range is considered to be very high Brix.
The three Ruby Grand Nectarines we measured ranged between 15-19 degrees Brix. The 14.01 and up range falls within the Very High Brix category.
We measured four Suncrest Peaches and they ranged between 11.8 -14.4 degrees Brix. A range of 10.01 – 12 is within the Medium category and 12.01-14.00 is in the High.
So, all the fruit this week measured in the High to Very High categories, with the exception of one of the four Suncrest Peaches we measured which fell into the Medium category.
Many in the industry use Brix as the definitive measure of sweetness, flavor, and quality. But there is only one scale of measure for each type of fruit, as an example, all peaches fall into one category. We do believe that Brix is definitely tied to a fruit quality, and take our Brix levels seriously, but we also know that each variety of fruit has its own characteristics. The Cal Red is Farmer Al’s favorite variety of peach and it does Brix higher than the Suncrest, but he thinks the Suncrest, particularly this year, is very sweet and delicious. That said, even in a great Suncrest year like this one, the heirloom will never read as high in Brix as the Cal Red. That is not to say that it isn’t every bit as sweet or delicious, but that the variety itself has a different capacity. That’s why we have set Brix levels for each variety of fruit we harvest.