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Old February 19, 2018   #1
Greatgardens's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Indiana
Posts: 768
Default Refractometer for fruit (tomato) juice?

I thought I'd take my variety evaluations up a notch by testing the Brix of various cherry tomatoes with a refractometer. Anyone doing this, and have a suggestion for model to purchase? Lots to choose from on Amazon and eBay. Typically under $50 for a "consumer" model. The most common range I've seen for fruits/wines is 0-32%.

Any thoughts?

Also- does the measured Brix show just soluble sugars or also acids, etc?


Last edited by Greatgardens; February 19, 2018 at 09:48 AM.
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Old February 19, 2018   #2
oakley's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NewYork 5a
Posts: 2,222

"...Within a given species of plant, the crop with a higher refractive index will have a higher sugar content, higher mineral content, higher protein content and a greater specific gravity or density."

I use mine for my grapes and fruit trees. All planted 15 or so years ago. I know them so
well and how they should ripen for best storage and harvest. One of my pear trees,
loaded with fruit, a week from perfect, lost a limb I thought was due to heavy fruit...
a few days later I caught a bear sitting in it. Two more smaller branches broken and a few
fruit he could not reach. Bummer. He obviously knew they were ripe and ready.

Fun tool to have around. Lots of charts on-line to print out a keep handy for various

Rarely brix tomatoes but last Fall I had an exceptional pink cherry and did race for the
refractometer. It brixed at of the chart for a tom. Only at F3. Hope that flavor
holds this season.

I keep eyeglass cleansing wipes in the case. Needs to be kept very clean.
Don't think I paid more than 50 but its been a while. I us 'fake check' or one of the review
checkers that helps spot fake reviews when they seem suspicious. Especially for
an item over a certain price point.
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Old February 19, 2018   #3
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: central utah
Posts: 233

I've had one for twenty something years and it has been very informative. I think I spent about two hundred bucks for it.
Great gardens, it doesn't measure acidity, just soluble sugars, but this can be revealing because there are many fruits, tomatoes included that do not taste so sweet but when you test them they can be quite high!
Most of the time, in these cases, the acidity is masking the sweetness and you wouldn't know it was there without the refractometer. This can be especially common with apples and pears because you not only have acidity, you've got astringency, which is caused by tannins, that can make the fruit taste very unsweet.
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Old February 20, 2018   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Germany 49°26"N 07°36"E
Posts: 5,011

Here is a good read on BRIX with tables showing typical Brix readings for different fruits and vegetables.

Here is the refractometer I bought from Amazon and I have had no problems with.
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways,
totally worn out, shouting ‘...Holy Crap .....What a ride!'
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Old February 20, 2018   #5
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 830

Yeah, I got this refractometer that Ami recommended, easy to use and good quality. I do check my tomatoes as I play around with some "alchemy" concoctions.
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