PMM College part 3: Our new commodity knowledge for trainees, professionals and all those interested. This time it’s all about the meaning of Brix. PMM College clarifies.
Currently, it is high season for tomatoes. We therefore take a look at the subject of Brix (content). Brix is an important quality characteristic in our tomato products, but not everyone is familiar with it. The Brix value is given in degrees Brix (° Bx) and is a unit of measurement of the relative density of liquids. It indicates how much dissolved sugar is in a liquid solution and is determined with a refractometer. In the food sector, the refractometer is mainly used in wine, fruit, vegetable and beverage industry in quality control for measuring the sugar content. The hand-held instruments used enable fast, simple and reliable measurement. For example, 25° Bx means that there are 25 g of sugar in 100 g of a solution. A fresh sun-ripened tomato from the field usually has a natural Brix content between 4.8 – 5.0° Bx.
The higher the Brix content, the better is the product for the cook. He saves on boiling down the tomatoes for his sauce or no longer needs to add tomato paste to obtain a creamy end product. Every amateur chef knows that when fresh tomatoes are pureed or chopped and simmered over medium heat, water evaporates and, after a while, we get a creamy tomato sauce. The longer you boil down, the higher the Brix content becomes.
In PMM’s whole, peeled tomatoes (2650 ml can), a thickened juice (tomato puree with approx. 7.5 Brix) is also added during production. Both together, the natural sweetness of the tomato and that of the puree, result in the final product of about 6 – 6.5 ° Bx. This Brix level is wonderful to work with in the professional kitchen. Speaking of tomato paste, 3-times concentrated, this PMM product has a very high content of 36 – 38 ° Bx. Here, it is necessary to pay special attention to quality and balance in the production, so that the taste of fruitiness and sweetness is not lost at such a high concentration. By the way, wine lovers are certainly familiar with the degree Oechsle, a physical unit of measurement belonging to the range of density. It indicates the must weight of the unfermented grape must. The must weight, in turn, is the measure of the dissolved substances – mainly sugar – in the must. It can be used to determine the potential alcohol content of the subsequent wine.