What is a Brix Score and Why does it matter?

Why do some blueberries explode with taste?  Without realizing it, we all enjoy blueberries with high Brix levels which is a measure of the health of the soil and quality and nutritional value of the blueberries’.  High Brix scores enable you to identify blueberries with higher flavonoid values.

 

How to Quantify the Taste and Nutritional Value of Blueberries

How can you quantify the taste and nutritional value of blueberries? That is a question Red Barn Farms endeavored to find out.  Thankfully, we found Brix testing and refractometers – a quantifiable way to test the nutritional quality of blueberries.

A refractometer measures the degree to which light changes direction when it passes through a liquid (i.e., the light bends or refracts).  The greater the bend, the higher the “Brix score,” indicating higher concentrations of natural sugar, mineral content, antioxidants, and other vitamins.  In short, a Brix score enables you to identify blueberries that explode with flavor and have superior nutritional value.

During 2018, we are running a pilot in selected grocery stores showing the applicable Brix scores of the fruit on the bottom of the pint.   Through caring for the soil, we intend to increase our Brix score over time in an effort to promote the flourishing of not only our land, plants, and fruit, but also our customers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What are typical Brix scores for blueberries?

A: Multiple sources have reported Brix scores ranging from Poor (6 to 8), Average (8 to 12), Good (12 to 14) and Excellent (14 to 18).

 

Q: Does a high Brix score mean the fruit will perish more quickly?

A: Absolutely not! Water causes the fruit to deteriorate, not the sugars. A good example of this is found in honey, with a very high sugar level and an incredibly long shelf-life.

 

Q: Do weather conditions influence the Brix scores?

A: Yes, with an approaching rain storm the plant will drop its sugars to the roots in order to protect itself, resulting in a lower Brix score temporarily.

 

Q:  How accurate and precise are the Brix scores?  

A:  We have developed a consistent process designed to provide us with accurate scores and high precision (which is a measure of repeatability).   Our confidence level is 95% that the score reported is +/- 0.28 accurate.    

 

Q: Can Brix scores be manipulated?

A: Yes. There are techniques to increase the Brix scores right before harvest, without any increase in nutritional value, but consistent with our commitment to regenerative organic farming, we do not and will not use these techniques to manipulate our Brix scores.