Using Brix Testing to Measure
the Quality of Fresh Produce

Brix testing is a great way to discover the quality of fruits and vegetables, including its content of both sugars and valuable minerals and trace minerals.

Have you ever eaten a delicious looking grape, only to find that it is sour? What a disappointment.

However, if you had brixed a drop of juice from a grape before buying them, you would have known if it was sweet or not.

How Brix Testing Works

Brix testing measures the solids contained in a fluid. For brixing a fruit or vegetable, the fluid is what you get when you squeeze it.

When the brix reading is high, it means the sugar content and mineral content of the fruit or vegetable are high. The higher the brix, the better it is going to taste!

Of course, as fruit gets overly ripe it will become sweeter, which also causes the brix to go up.

What You Will Need

To test the brix of a fruit or vegetable, you will need a drop of its juice.  Some juicy items yield a drop easily. Others do not, especially leafy greens. But that’s not a problem, if you have a garlic press.

brix testing, pampered chef garlic press

I recommend the Pampered Chef garlic press. It is built strong and works well for brixing purposes. Just put a piece of the fruit or vegetable in the opening, and squeeze till a drop of juice comes out the bottom of the press.

Next, you need a good Refractometer, one that measures from 0 to 32, and corrects automatically for temperature.

Using a Refractometer

Just lift up the plastic cover over the testing glass of your Refractometer, put a drop of juice on the glass, and gently lower the cover.

Now, point the Refractometer at a good source of light, and look through it. You can rotate the eye piece left or right to focus it to your eye.

Now you will see a scale, with 0 at the bottom, and 32 at the top. The bottom part of the scale will be white, and the upper part will be gray.

brix testing, refractometer
brix reading, refractometer reading, refractometer window

Note on the scale the place where the white and gray meet. Where the colored and white meet is the brix level. In the picture above you can see that the brix level is 11.

Since brix levels vary a great deal according to the type of fruit or vegetable, you will need to look up each fruit or vegetable on a brix chart.

On this chart, look to see if the value you read with your Refractometer is poor, average, good, or excellent.

Sometimes the fluid will have too many particles in it to get a good reading.

A good way to overcome this is to use a piece of nylon stocking (pantyhose). Put your sample to be brixed inside a piece of sticking, place it in the garlic press, and squeeze. This will help to clear up the liquid to be brixed.

Raising the Brix of Your Garden

brix testing, cabbage garden

Brix testing is an excellent tool to test the quality of the produce you grow in your garden. The cool thing is, the higher the brix, the healthier the plant, and the less problems you are going to have with insects and disease.

A great way to greatly improve the soil, resulting in higher brix readings, is to apply a really good soil conditioner.

This will highly structure the soil and restore balance to the soil.

To learn how to use brix testing in your garden and how to increase the brix of what you grow, click here.


Whether you use a Refractometer for brix testing the quality of fruit and vegetables in the produce department or at a vegetable stand, or to test the fruits or vegetables from your own garden, it’s a great tool to have in your arsenal.

Once you make the initial investment of about $60, you can whip out your garlic press and Refractometer, and within a couple of minutes have your brix results.

Click here to pull up at a free ebook about brixing.

(Return from Brix Testing to Organic Vegetable Garden)

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