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The Brix scale and tomato choices

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The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  Windmere on 2/11/2016, 2:57 pm

This year I became aware of the Brix scale.  Evidently, this is a test for sugar content to discover sweetness.  I am perpetually on a quest for the sweetest tomatoes to delight my wife as she "pops candy" in her mouth while visiting my raised beds.

My wife fell in love with Sungolds and she expects those to be planted every year (or else!  ha ha).  My wife could care less about whether the tomato is a cherry size or a standard average/large size.

However, I've always wanted to plant some variety for her... but all need to be in line with top sweetness.

This year, I discovered the "Dolce Vita" cherry tomato.  These apparently grow in clusters, sort of like grapes.  I bought the seeds from Neseed of Connecticut.  Neseed purports that Dolce Vita registers an 11.0 on the brix scale, which is crazy high.

I've also read some good reports regard Rosada, Piccolo and Golden Sweet.  It's tough to find those though.

Anyone else have some good ideas on sweet tomatoes?  The four I've mentioned I've only recently heard of.

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  sanderson on 2/11/2016, 6:07 pm

I know giltch about Brix, but here is a previous post on this Forum. Wait, Brix and wine grapes sounds familiar.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t17393-brix-tests-for-nutrition-density?highlight=brix

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  camprn on 2/12/2016, 6:07 am

http://www.healthy-vegetable-gardening.com/brix-scale.html - link to brix chart
http://www.healthy-vegetable-gardening.com/brix-level.html - link to general brix information

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  katjohn83 on 2/12/2016, 1:45 pm

Years ago when my grandfather passed away, I got his tools. In the toolbox what was I now know a refractometer. He was a big gardener. I remember him having as a kid a huge garden, maybe 50' x 50'. I never know what that tool was used for and now I know. I wonder if I still have it stored away somewhere. If I can find it, I will have to try it out. That is what makes this forum great. You always learn something new.

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  sanderson on 2/12/2016, 2:26 pm

Might as well carry this Brix subject a little further. Who has one? Recommendations? The cost varies widely so just like all gardening/kitchen tools, budgets, durability, accuracy, etc., comes into play. Yes, I'm getting the itch to buy one. Embarassed

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  camprn on 2/13/2016, 8:04 am

I have a honey refractometer, but it Doesn't measure on a brix scale. Such a handy dandy tool.

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  sanderson on 2/13/2016, 1:26 pm

From what little reading I did yesterday, they come in different ranges, depending on whether it is for heavy sweeteners or lower reading plants.

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Very interesting - Quest for perfect 12?

Post  Windmere on 2/13/2016, 5:44 pm

Wow, thank you everyone for your amazing input on this thread.  Camprn, I noticed in one of the charts that a tomato testing at 12 is "excellent."  I realize that soil and growing conditions could probably affect this score... but my big questions is:  Which tomatoes have the potential to actually attain that 12 score.  Given the fact that MM is so rich, I think we'd already soil quality factors under control.

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  camprn on 2/14/2016, 11:51 am

@Windmere wrote:Wow, thank you everyone for your amazing input on this thread.  Camprn, I noticed in one of the charts that a tomato testing at 12 is "excellent."  I realize that soil and growing conditions could probably affect this score... but my big questions is:  Which tomatoes have the potential to actually attain that 12 score.  Given the fact that MM is so rich, I think we'd already soil quality factors under control.
I don't really have an answer to that, but with a bit of internet digging you may find some published research on the issue. One thing to keep in mind is that Mel's Mix is just a starting point for getting a SFG up and running quickly. The quality of your MM, and the garden soiI-less mix in subsequent years, will be entirely dependent upon the quality of compost you put into the box.

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  sanderson on 2/14/2016, 2:02 pm

@camprn wrote:One thing to keep in mind is that Mel's Mix is just a starting point for getting a SFG up and running quickly. The quality of your MM, and the garden soil-less mix in subsequent years, will be entirely dependent upon the quality of compost you put into the box.

That's a good quote to keep in mind. I think the quality of subsequent compost plus time for the microbes to multiply makes subsequent beds even "richer".

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  plantoid on 2/14/2016, 3:18 pm

@camprn wrote:I have a honey refractometer, but it Doesn't measure on a brix scale. Such a handy dandy tool.
 One of my honey refractometers was graduated in  Brix  , the other was percentages of water  in the honey ( ( This one was supplied at cost by a large international food group that I sold tonnes of honey to .

 Whilst I was in my first civil  employ after coming out the Army I had the misfortune to work in a factory, one  that made SODASTREAM concentrate.

Usually I was making 30 thousand litres of syrup at a time, each day . Then over watching the bottling in pint plastic bottles of the finished concentrate for people to make their soda pop at home .

 The lab obviously did god only knows how many tests . A Brix meter was my only bit of test equipment and this one was graduated in numbers from 0 to 1.0 , each different formula had it's own specific reading to check against .

 So I suspect that each Brix meter may well be calibrated for each product .

About 23 yrs ago I was attending a talk with the former head honcho of the New Zealand agriculture ministry dept that dealt with the nutrients and elements found in the ripe veg & fruit .  His main theme /offering was how much food value has been lost in the last 25 ( up to 1990 )  years because of agricultural specialization / development  of crops and the commercial harvesting producing low value hybrids that looked good on the shelf and kept for two weeks or so .

 He told us that because of detailed records & the same testing regime they had it was known 10 day old picked oranges had over 50 % less vitamin C these days than those grown at the end of world war two .  Tomatoes , plums , pears and apples were also discussed with similar results

 He claimed that the best tomatoes are always grown in an animal dung based growth medium as this usually has all the trace elements & minerals that are not often found in commercial chemical fertilizers  . I learnt that almost all  manner of commercial crops are picked green or still very unripe and finished off in climate and atmosphere controlled airtight sheds nearer to their point of sale .

 He said what has been known for many generations , "Pick your toms & other crops as ripe as you dare let them get before they go soft or fall off & they will have the highest levels of sugar and nutrients " .

On a personal note I feel that hydroponic grown toms are not a patch on those grown as above .

 Here in the UK we have a couple of contenders for the sweet toms  they might be available in the USA.
They are :-
Orange panache  and Sakura which are similar & the Sakura also has a good resistance to tomato virus and fusarium wilt .

Sun cherry premium F1 hybrid is also supposed to score very very well & has I think been recommended  by the RHS as tomato of the year for sweetness..

 I suspect it is because of the above toms being the smaller cherry sized one that they will quickly get the maximum  nourishment from the tomato vine and that's why they are much sweeter than the larger toms .

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  Windmere on 2/14/2016, 10:10 pm

Regarding compost, so true Camprn.  I wish I were better about making my own, but I do make sure to honor the code of a 5 compost mix every year.

Plantoid, I enjoyed reading your comments very much.  It's interesting that it was a British website that I found to be most helpful in explaining the Brix scale.  It mentioned some the the tomato varieties your mentioned in your closing remarks.  Unfortunately, I can't find that website again!  I can't remember which search engine I used, and that seems to make a difference.

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  plantoid on 2/16/2016, 5:39 am

Roughly what were the terms/ words you used for the search engine ?

 Try this in your search engine  the one I used is Google , there are no end of places to look ,
" Explain the brix sugar tester scale "

 I saw a reference to tomatoes  in one of the results offered .

 
Those toms, should be in the likes of the catalogues for "  Suttons seeds , Thompson & Morgan seeds or Fothergill seeds .. so perhaps  do a search for them adding " UK " on the end .

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Re: The Brix scale and tomato choices

Post  Windmere on 2/17/2016, 11:20 am

Plantoid, thanks for your help in helping me duplicate my search engine research.  I did take a look at the results by using your suggestion.  I saw some interesting information, but I did not see the study I originally read.

I did another search though.  I simply typed in "High brix tomatoes."  I came across some great information from the Royal Horticultural Society.  They listed their top ten highest brix cherry tomatoes.

You can read about this here: 

https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/articles/graham-rice/10-cherry-tomatoes

I came across another article that simply said that a Brandywine can have a brix rating as high as 14.0.  I read an article in one of my Organic Life magazines that also sang its praises.  I actually bought some organic Brandywine seeds from Sustainable Seed (they seem to have sold out I just noticed).  I've vascillated so many times about planting the because I've also read about their fickle nature as well as their disease vulnerabilities.  Ultimately, I decided to go with disease resistant varieties... I may reconsider.

Oh, I also came across a VERY LONG article written by Rex Harril.  I read all of it, but I will admit that I glazed over during some parts.  What I carried away from it was some thought provoking information regarding the history/development of the refractometer. 

Here's the link:

http://www.living-foods.com/articles/fruitquality.html#ORIGIN%20OF%20THE%20WORD%20BRIX

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