Flavor is a well-orchestrated symphony of the senses.
Nothing beats the experience of sinking your teeth into a perfectly ripe strawberry or a nice juicy peach. However, sometimes the senses fail us... ever felt the disappointment of a piece of fruit that looks and smells exquisite, but just doesn’t taste as good as anticipated? So how can you select fruit that will deliver mouth watering flavor, bite after bite, every time? Fortunately, we have another resource to support our pursuit of flavor…BRIX!
Named for Adolf Ferdinand Wenceslaus Brix who developed the scale in the 1800s, BRIX measures the concentration of dissolved solids (usually sucrose) in a solution. BRIX has long been integral in the winemaking industry to measure sugar content of grapes and determine when they are ripe for harvest (There’s even a fantastic restaurant in the Napa Valley named BRIX in tribute ). Recently, BRIX measurements have become increasingly common throughout the produce industry as a means to quantify flavor using a handy device known as a refractometer. Refractometers measure the degree to which light is refracted when passed through a solution, thus indicating the density of solids.
Customers of Pocono Produce in Northeastern Pennsylvania enjoy the benefit of weekly “Brix blasts” issued by Executive Chef Doug Petruzzi. Petruzzi and his staff use portable refractometers several times a week to determine which fruits and vegetables are extraordinarily flavorful and then communicate that information to their customers.
In field operations across the country, inspectors for retail chains take BRIX measurements to determine whether everything from melons to peppers meet quality specs. If the product makes the grade, it ships. If not, the inspectors move on to another farm, and the pursuit of flavor continues.
BRIX measurements have been integral at Christopher Ranch, where America’s leading supplier of fresh garlic works to differentiate its product from the glut of imports flooding domestic markets. While "sweet" may be the last word people would choose to describe garlic, BRIX is still instrumental in identifying the compounds that give garlic its distinct aroma and flavor. In tests conducted by a 3rd party food lab, Christopher Ranch Heirloom Garlic hammered its Chinese counterpart by a score of 38° to 29° . Every 100g of Christopher Ranch garlic contains 38g of solids including amino acids, essential oils, and other minerals, which is 23% higher than water-saturated imports. Chefs agree that this has a huge impact on the quality of their dishes, confirming that Christopher Ranch Heirloom Garlic has a more pronounced and consistent flavor than Chinese…. It’s all about the BRIX!