BRIX QUESTION & ANSWER TABLE 3

Food rot in storage II Brix=sugar & kitchen testing Why do people often "resist" the brix concept?
Does pungency in such as  radishes affect brix Food rot in storage again (III) [Click to ask your question]
The short answer to obtaining better food Sugar/acid ratio: meaning & determination [Click to ask your question]
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Question:  I'm getting uneasy about this "good food won't rot in storage" talk.  Are you saying that much of what I've been eating is rot-quality?

Answer:  Sadly, that is exactly what I'm saying.  When I first started realizing that I'd spent a lifetime often swallowing produce that was on the verge of spontaneous decomposition, I was repulsed.  Now, I look for those initial signs that a food item is getting ready to break down and thank God that I know the truth.

This starts becoming clearer when one looks at ordinary foods like lettuce.  For instance, I've yet to find store-bought lettuce over 4 brix (most measures 2-3 brix).  It's exceedingly rare for such lettuce to fail to start some form of rotting within a week or so---even stored in the best of refrigerators.  On the other hand, sweet 10-12 brix lettuce will stay in your refrigerator produce compartment for a month, or more, and never decay.

Yes, the lettuce may dehydrate and get limp---but it's going to resist simple mold, rot, and decay in a way that should enlighten you every bit as much as it did me so many years ago..

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Question:  I recently measured a pungent radish with the refractometer and got quite a surprise.  It was only 0.2 brix, the lowest number I've seen for anything I've measured so far except for distilled water!

Answer: As you well know, radishes are quite pungent and that is reason enough for me to not grow them although I do sometimes sow the big Chinese radishes to build organic matter in land.  Humans normally are drawn to sweeter fruits and vegetables and I consider sharp pungency as a possible sign of toxicity.

Perhaps radishes are like turnips to some degree.  While 4-5 brix turnips are awful tasting, they can be quite delicious if the grower gets them up to 10-11 brix.  Mustard greens, which I think are closely related to radishes, taste really good at 14+ brix, but literally "burn" the mouth at 3-5 brix.  I'm speaking of lightly steamed "greens"---which tends to release some of the pungent mustard gas.  I may get called down for saying it, but I'm fairly sure the pungency we're speaking of really is the same mustard gas used in war.

Perhaps one day a lab will examine some item like radishes and make a convincing case that toxicity does indeed run in inverse ratio to brix.

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Question: What is the "short" answer to getting higher quality food to people?  Don't you understand most of us don't grow our own?  We need a better method.

Answer:  I've been teaching for years that the only answer is for the middlemen and government inspectors to verify that each box of produce has the correct brix number stamped on the outside.  I bet you were unaware that most of them already carry refractometers.  If the public was fully informed, most of the debased agriculture would quietly fade away.  We would finally have farmers competing to bring you the best food, not the cheapest.

Well, actually there is another answer: it's for a million homemakers to storm their grocery stores, refractometers in hand, and to start throwing the low-brix junk food back at the produce managers.  That would get someone's attention!  Those produce managers would surely wake up the growers and other middlemen!

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Question: Yes, the food industry admits to brix, but they claim it only tells us how much sugar is in the fruit or vegetable.  Why do you keep saying that taste is involved?

Answer: There are two little kitchen tests anyone can perform that will give them a real grip on this concept.  The first is to find an "organic" orange and a commercial orange of identical brix, and which fall in the "average" or "good" brix chart category.  I predict that in *every* case the "organic" will taste better (because it always has for me). That, to my mind, is my human body recognizing what is good for me. Blindfold your friends and "test" them to see if my claim holds.  

As Dr. Reams food laboratory tests revealed, high-order biological produce is about 50% sugar and 50% minerals & associated goodies.  On the other hand, commercial produce tends to run about 75% sugar and only 25% mineral.  Our body's "taste" is its constant search for that food with the most minerals.

The second test is to pour and taste a glass of any available orange juice.  After measuring the brix, add a teaspoon of sugar.  It will taste sweeter---but not *better*.  You can keep adding sugar and the "taste" will not improve. Actually, it will degenerate into sickening sweetness. People think their body is deaf & dumb, but it has known for countless millennia what it needs and it knows so today.  Taste is how it tells you.  I predict that once you run these tests, you will no longer believe the food production hierarchy when they blanish you with "brix is only sugar."

Again, evaluate for yourself.  Quite possibly too much of your life has been spent being forced to rely on recommendations from biased "experts."

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Question: Short of you and I buying various produce and watching it---together---for days or weeks, do you have more evidence to support the constant claim that "good food won't rot in storage---but it will dehydrate?"

Answer: Not really---unless you're willing to accept an anecdote that Carey Reams once shared.

Many years ago I had read a statement by Dr. Reams describing how he had entered the same super-quality watermelon in a Florida county fair three years in a row. I chuckled and dismissed the claim because I thought Reams was just joking to make a point that better food resisted rotting.  Yes, I dismissed it probably as you are dismissing the "good food won't rot" concept right now.  Let's face it: the thought of a watermelon lasting three years sounds like a fantasy.

Then one day I was reading something by Dr. Dan Skow and he admitted to being a witness to the watermelon incident. According to him, Reams took the watermelon to the county extension agent, who signed the melon with a permanent market to identify it. After the first fair was over, Reams picked up the melon from the fair judges and returned it to the county agent, who verified it was the same melon, and who locked it in his office closet. The next year Reams retrieved the fruit and reentered it in the fair. This was repeated a third year, but no mention is made of a fourth. Neither is any mention made of the agent's closet being in a cold-storage area. I will add that I am now aware of the wonderful natural wax-coating on truly superior fruit so I assume the melon didn't dehydrate all that rapidly.

As I said, the first time I heard the story my mind simply skipped over the implications because I had not yet entered the paradigm that "good food will not rot, but it will dehydrate." At this date I can add that no one and nothing can budge me away from that paradigm. Today, if I see a food item that is quick to rot in storage I know it is poor quality food---NO MATTER THE BRIX READING! If it rots in storage and it supposedly had a "high" brix reading, I know either a mistake was made or the brix chart is set up wrong.

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Question:  I was talking to a citrus grower and they mentioned a "sugar/acid" ratio.  What is that all about?

Answer: They were referring to an agricultural evaluation (used mainly in Florida) that tries to determine when such as oranges and grapefruit are ripe.  Nature uses acids and other repellants to keep animals from picking fruit that is not ripe enough.  Once the seeds inside are fully developed, nature then converts those acids to sugars.  So, the sugar/acid ratio simply tells you how far along the process is.

Because citrus with too much total acid content can drastically upset consumer stomachs, the Florida Department of Agriculture tests citrus for this ratio before certifying that any particular grove is ready for harvesting.  The sad part of this story is that if they would only wait until the brix was half again higher (perhaps 15-16, instead of 10-11), the acid would be so low that you could drink orange juice all day long and never have stomach upset.

By the way, this same process is at work in other fruits.  Just remember how little boys get tummy-aches from eating unripe green apples and you will get the idea.  Sometimes nature's "not yet" signal is in the form of astringents.  If you have ever tried to eat an unripe persimmon, you well know what I mean.

 Finally, total acid and pH are two different things.  You can't test the pH of a fruit and determine what the total acid content is.  "Total acid" is tested by the titration method.

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Question: Why do people often "resist" the brix concept?

Answer: A major reason is that it is hard to bring a new thought into one's personal paradigm if it, of necessity, requires them to give up long-held beliefs.  For instance, there are many dietary "gurus" throughout the world who have much at stake in advising others how & what to eat.  

Evidently, it is very hard to have to admit that much, if not all, that advice, whether free, or bought dearly, is irrelevant when the food quality parameter is unknown.

Brix, of itself, does not suggest what anyone should eat.  However, the brix concept focuses a searching light onto the quality of what they eat.  

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