Enhancing the nutritional quality, sensory appeal, safety, convenience, and availability of foods in a sustainable manner is a leading challenge within farming and food production.
Product quality is complex and is assessed differently by people throughout the continuum from crop production to consumption. All involved use a large set of criteria to rate the quality of crops and products. In the VPSL, we consider vegetable quality to be the sum of an item’s physical, chemical, biological, and sensory properties. The item can be a single root, leaf, or fruit to a very large collection of them in fresh or processed form. The properties can include any that affect the transfer of the item between the buyer and seller or the impact of it being eaten.
These quality-centered properties result from the interaction of the crop’s genetics and its growing environment. Crops and varieties are chosen by farmers and, they help set their growing conditions. In the VPSL, we work to help design and implement growing systems that optimize quality, yield, and sustainability.°Brix is one example of a crop quality criterion. °Brix is a measure of the level of soluble solids in a solution. Sucrose, a sugar, is often the most abundant soluble solid in the juices of fresh vegetables and fruits. Therefore, °Brix readings can relate to the potential sweetness or flavor of fresh vegetables as consumers would assess them. Measuring °Brix can help vegetable growers monitor the condition of their crops and, perhaps, adjust production practices accordingly. °Brix readings must be taken and interpreted carefully to be useful. Learn more about °Brix on our Product Quality Resources page.
Using ºBrix as an Indicator of Vegetable Quality, An Overview of the Practice, HYG-1650-12
Using ºBrix as an Indicator of Vegetable Quality, Linking Measured Values to Crop Management, HYG-1651-12
Using ºBrix as an Indicator of Vegetable Quality, A Summary of the Measurement Method, HYG-1652-12
Using ºBrix as an Indicator of Vegetable Quality, Instructions for Measuring ºBrix in Cucumber, Leafy Greens, Sweet Corn, Tomato, and Watermelon, HYG-1653-12