Did you know that you can obtain a specific sweetness level by using a refractometer? This instrument measures the sugar content or the concentration level of products such as tomatoes, and it’s expressed as a percentage called Brix. Whether you’re using tomato puree or crushed tomatoes, a refractometer will help you obtain the consistency that your customers expect.
Hi. I’m Taylor, with the Neil Jones Food Company. A common measure in evaluating tomato products is known as Brix. Brix equals the sugar content, or solids of a solution, and it’s expressed by a percentage. A high Brix percentage equals a more concentrated product, such as crushed tomatoes or tomato paste. A lower Brix percentage equals something more like a tomato puree. Restaurant operators generally have a specific sweetness level that they target for various applications. We measure Brix using a refractometer. Today, I’m going to discuss with you what that is, how to properly use it, the types of products it can be used with, and how to properly take care of it.
Today, we’re going to be talking about the handheld analog unit. Here’s how it works: When you take an object like a pencil and place it into a glass container with water, the object appears to be bent. Since light bends when it enters a solution, it creates the effect that the object is also bending. This is called the refraction of light. The more concentrated a solution is with dissolved solids, the more an object appears to bend. The degree in which light bends is called the angle of refraction.
Analog refractometers like this one are made up of the main prism and the daylight plate located at the end of the unit. Before using the refractometer unit, it needs to be calibrated to 0 by taking a couple of drops of distilled water onto the prism and closing the daylight plate. Next, you should hold the unit up to the light and look into the focusable lens. It should be at 0 on the scale. If it’s not, there is an adjustment screw on the top to adjust it to 0. Then the prism should be wiped clean and dry with a Chemtech wiper to avoid scratching the glass prism.
Next, we apply the product we will be testing to the prism. It is important to cover the entire prism, making sure there are no air pockets or gaps. Next, we close the daylight plate and look into the light. At this point, we should see the scale reading go up from 0 to the actual reading of the percent of tomato solids. Once this test is complete, the prism should be cleaned with distilled water and the prism dried with the wipers before putting away the unit.
The refractometer is typically used on products such as tomato puree, concentrated, crushed, and pizza sauce to determine solids of a product. This helps you determine which Neil Jones product best fits your needs.