taste is subjective...

sheltiecheJuly 24, 2014

so I got a refractometer... the time of truth is here...
if anyone using one and can provide helpful hints, I am all ears...

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What is your goal, your "truth"? To prove that taste is not subjective as your title implies? To prove that high brix equals good taste to you, or to all? Or just to measure the brix of the fruit grown in your garden in this particular year?


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:07AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

To some extent, it is not the "taste" itself that is subjective, but ones preference is subjective.
So you can say that "I don't like it because.."
Food taste are generally 4 categories: Saltiness, sourness, spiciness, sweetness. Those can be measured and cannot be subjective in quantity.
Probably our perception of aroma is subjective. Even for that there are some conventional standards. We have good odors and bad odors that are generally agreed upon.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:25AM
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Even those four taste qualities (Saltiness, sourness, spiciness, sweetness.) are not perceived equally by each individual. Many people (like my DW) perceived sourness with more (or less) intensity. Saltiness perception can be affected by the current salinity of the individual at a particular moment in time. I would think that one's blood sugar level might skew one's perception of sweetness. And, I think we can all agree that some folks like habaneros and some of us can't handle a Jalapeno.

Now, that doesn't change the qualities of the tomato or pepper being tested/tasted. That is the only constant in this scenario. Science has proven that "taste-buds" are dispersed differently in all human beings. Different folks use differing amounts of how something smells as an integral part of their taste perception. Those scent detection receptors are dispersed differently from one person to the next as well. Clearly, no two folks will have the same taste experience.

I've got relatives that think the variety Yellow Pear is tart and full flavored. I, on the other hand, think it is bland and relatively tasteless.

For my money, that refractometer can show you how two different fruits are similar and may (only a maybe) allow you to find, through testing, a list of varieties that could (another maybe) have taste qualities you will enjoy. But, you will have to find ones that you like and test each one - thereby establishing the range of readings you like.

For me, I taste them all. I like some sweetness and a full tartness punch in the finish. I put the very best on my sandwiches and in my salads. All of the rest of them go into my canned tomato juice. So, I can honestly say that I like them all.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 9:34AM
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In my search for tomato varieties that I like,I have tried a variety of yellows,oranges,blacks and stripes.They can vary from plant to plant from the same pack of seed,especially in heirlooms.Never cared for the taste of the classic red tomato.Some of the dark ones I grew this year were totally bland,whereas my Golden Jubilees were fantastic,also yellow pear and Sungold/Sunsugar were to my taste.Gave away a lot of the dark ones to friends,who thought they were quite good,and they are all lovers of red varieties.Most of these I'll probably never grow again,just had to try to see if I liked them.Happy growing.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 1:13PM
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Dave, to answer your question, it is a bit of tongue in cheek name of the post. I do think since I started soil mineralization program this year my tomatoes do taste better than last year overall.
Overall I am looking to evaluate is how healthy my efforts are an whether there is any difference in few tomatoes grown near the house and community gardens... Brix to me is kinda summary of my soil gardening practice...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:47PM
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It's also the genes. You must have a specific type of gene to like black licorice and fennel. Also must take a specific gene in order to smell the apparent foul odor urine from people eating asparagus. I'm really glad I can't smell the "your pee smells funny" and I can't eat black licorice or use fennel toothpastes etc... because it taste so disgusting to me.

And if people eat too much of hot spices.. that can really harm taste buds from temporarily to perm. Some people who just take a nibble off of a ghost pepper their buds are ruined.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 1:18PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Brix to me is kinda summary of my soil gardening practice...

Are you saying that high brix or some specific brix number would define gardening improvement/success for you?

I guess what I don't understand is what is your hypothesis? How you plan to correlate brix readings with quality of flavor? All you are measuring is soluble suspended particles in each fruit sample and it can vary from fruit to fruit from the same plant and even from different samples from the same fruit. How does that measurement correlate with taste? Sweet = good? Many of the tomatoes low on the brix scale are the most popular. Refractometers are used on many things but they measure only 1 of 100s of variables.

Does high brix = great flavor? Maybe for some, coincidentally. But for others just the opposite would be as valid.

Or use brix as an indicator of improved gardening? Does high brix = better gardening methods/techniques/location? I wouldn't think so since it can vary greatly from fruit to fruit.

Just curious as to your goals.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 3:11PM
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Yes to high brix mean high quality fruit. It is not ness. sweeter as brix is not only measure of sugars but proteins, minerals, aminoacids i.e. what presents quality in the fruit.
I happen not to grow on Rodale publications so it is quite easy for me to accept Dr Carey Reams and Dr Albrecht teachings...

Here is a link that might be useful: high brix

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 6:05PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

So you're going to use a measuring device to decide which tomatoes are good and which aren't. Wow. I find that the taste of my tomatoes vary not only from variety to variety but from time of harvest. The ones I get first from one plant can taste different from later ones from the same plant. So much depends on things like temperatures and rainfall. Unless you're growing in a hothouse under very controlled conditions fruit will not be the same all the time.

And what was the comment about Rodale publications about? I've never read any of their publications, and I've been growing tomatoes for 35 years. Since conditions vary so much I've always mostly gone on trial and error in my own little corner of the gardening world with the occasional foray into advice on subjects like BER or early blight.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:33AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I agree with Linda, and I think it is fair to say that sweetness in number one indicator of most fruits ripeness and quality and that is how and why we the humans have domesticized most fruits mostly on that single characteristic. A blend of acidity and sweetness further adds to a more varied taste. We often say "SWEET N JUICY", describing a fruit

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:17PM
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Caryltoo, yes, it is correct brix number does change with temperature, weather etc. so one looks more on a trend as opposed to one single specific number. Brix widely used in winemaking I am told.
As for Rodale comment, many organic gardener's views and opinions as well as lawmaking policies were formed by readers of Rodale publications. I would put myself into group of biological gardeners, i.e. I would prefer not to be limited by " things of only natural origin" in my applications but using things around garden wisely with respect to living things in the soil and air.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:57PM
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Good luck Linda! I'd love to see your results at the end of the season!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:13PM
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