Getting to Know Brix

The previous article discussed a low-tech, low-cost way of determining the quality of food.

Do you want to see how this works?

This is something that I want to show in real life at some of the CSA pickups and workshops. But for now, here’s an overview of how it works, plus a chart that gives you an idea of what we’re looking for.


The tool in the centre of the photo is a refractometer, and a few drops of juice from a leaf, vegetable or fruit are squeezed onto the plate. I often use a garlic press to squeeze out the juice.

Then, the refractometer is held up to the light, and when we look through the prism, we can get a reading of the brix.

The photo below shows the reading from a beet: 12%, which is “excellent”.


Here’s the thing though: it’s possible to grow beyond “excellent” produce. We’re trying to get into the “excellent” range with all of our crops, but also don’t mind if we get a bit beyond that. ☺

This is one situation where we take on the challenge of pushing limits. What are the upper reaches of quality? We’d like to find out!

Below is a chart showing the ranges of Brix readings for various common crops. If you’d ever like a demo of how this works, ask us at the CSA pickup time / market. We’re happy to show you the process, and tell you more about it!

Brix Chart for Common Local Fruits

Brix Chart for Common Vegetables

Deanna van den Dries