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Brix and health

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I am going to do a series of threads/posts  on Brix, plants, and health. I will accept questions, but please, 1 question per post, and no more than 2-3 questions daily.

You can find a lot of good info over at Rex Harrill's site, http://crossroads.ws/brix/index.htm, but I'm going to summarize it here, and take questions, and add my own thoughts as well.

A Brix meter, properly called a refractometer, measures the total amount of dissolved solid matter in a liquid. Winemakers and orange growers often use Brix readings to decide when to harvest their crops. Once a grape reaches a certain Brix, it is harvested.  Orange growers that produce oranges used for commercial orange juice are paid more for higher Brix readings, and they don't harvest until their fruit reaches a certain Brix level. The reason is that the taste of the higher Brix oranges is much, much better.

Plants with Brix readings above 12 generally are not attacked by juice-sucking insects. I believe that this Brix level of 12 is also one at which many fruits become health-giving rather than health-damaging.  In my experience, my health is much better when I refuse to eat fruits with Brix lower than 12.

Some cattle farmers will also pay a higher premium for higher-Brix hay, because it is much better for the health of their cows.

There are a number of ways to improve Brix in plants, including organic soil supplements, foliar feeding, and choosing plant varieties with lower yield.

I generally recommend using a Brix meter on all fruits/veggies that you will eat, and avoiding low-Brix plants whenever you can. It is possible to find high-Brix produce, with time and effort.  In some places, the local fruit is always high Brix, because of excellent local soil quality. For the rest of us, we have to grow our own, or find sources of fruit that are high Brix.  

Questions are welcome. Please feel free to read Rex Harrill's site.

How reliable are refractometers?

Can you learn to discern nutrient density of different types of produce by paying attention to the characteristics (appearance, density, smell, etc) of high brix samples?

For example, by paying attention to what a good tasting green pepper lookes, feels and smells like, I can typically judge, based on those characteristics, if a given pepper is going to be sweet or bland. Peaches are much harder!

Don't you think your smell/taste should be able to judge fruit quality?

I can see why grape's and oranges are rated by a brix value because its an objective measurement. I don't think its neccecary for good health to judge fruits with technology. If our paleo ancestors could judge fruits with their senses/instincts than so should we.

Is there a difference in Brix readings between less ripe and more ripe fruits?


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