Why is brix so important? Does higher brix mean more flavorful / tastier?

Apparently, you guys prefer nectarines over peaches because of higher brix. And I know there’s already a thread about this, so I don’t want to create a repeat discussion.

This post is more about me:
A. Never noticing a difference in “brix” (I was caught by surprise that the general consensus that nectarines are better, when I saw that post on this forum). Like I never thought to myself “you know it seems every time I eat nectarines, they seem sweeter and more enjoyable than peaches”

In fact, for whatever reason, I even prefer peaches, based on my store bought experience. I can’t quite put a finger on it. My experience doesn’t give me the belief that nectarines are just hairless peaches. There IS a subtle difference in taste. A peach tastes peachy, lol. And has a peach aroma. Nectarines don’t have that same aroma.

Again, maybe I “just don’t get it” because I’m going off of store bought experience. But you guys have me now debating whether I should actually be creating my orchard out of nectarines instead of peaches.

Another question I have for you guys - is your preference for nectarines a case of “I like more sweetness”, or does it actually translate to a better eating experience in terms of flavor?

I am now curious to buy both fruit this upcoming summer and do a side by side taste test. Maybe even a blind taste test.


Brix is unimportant. What you like is best for you. I like lower brix lower acid fruit. Ark-black apples, Some crip pear varieties, New Zealand lemonade, and Etc.
A lot of Brix went into the building of this house.

There will be no famine under this roof.


Ya, maybe for those that can’t achieve high brix or haven’t experienced it. High brix nectarines are very much better than low brix. And nectarines, for those that can grow them well, are better than peaches.

When I started growing stone fruit in my greenhouse in 2005 I had about equal numbers of peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots. Within 5 yrs the peaches and plums were nearly absent. Why because nectarines were sweeter and and more flavorful than peaches and not by just a little. Pluots were the same vs plums but the difference wasn’t as stark as peach vs nectarine.

The Honey series of yellow low acid nectarines are the best, most flavorful fruit I’ve ever eaten but only at 24-28 brix achieved by deficit irrigation.

What you buy in the store won’t tell you anything because they weren’t grown under the same conditions.

Some people like high acid peach and nectarine. At low brix the acid helps flavor. At high brix the low acid can be better and have an entirely different flavor profile. But high brix and high acid can be very good. I don’t like that combination if the acid overwhelms the sweetness.

Sweet cherries can blow your mind at 28-32 brix if they have high acid and are crisp. I’ve had Bings like that that may be better than the Honey series nectarines.


Do you like acidity at all? I have this association developed in my mind/experience that sweet fruits without acidity are not intensely flavored. So I’m one of those seemingly few people that actually prefers acidic tomatoes and well balanced peaches. With tomatoes, it’s crazy when I hear so many people say they like sweet tomatoes. But maybe I just haven’t had the right sweet peach or the right sweet tomato. I’ve been an acid guy, unless we’re talking about persimmons.


I answered that above with a late edit.


That brix looks disgusting. It can’t compare to good fruit.


I have to agree but I love the complex architecture.


Fabulous, good for you, its beautiful!!!


I’m guessing sugar level is not just about sweetness. It could be used as a bellwether for ideal ripeness. If a tree has an ideal year (sun/rain/heat/nutrients) it will be able to pump all the things we love into the fruit, sugar is just one of those items. If the sugar is high, the fruit is probably at its height of taste for that variety. If the sugar is low, it either isn’t ripe or the tree had a bad year.


My take on this is that brix is an important component, but by no means the only one. I used to be squarely on the “peaches are better” side, but I’ve come around to nectarines probably tasting better (based on store bought fruit only, @fruitnut 's caveats apply). However, I still like peaches better overall. Why? Texture. I like eating most fruit skin on, and I personally prefer a peach’s fuzzy skin to a nectarine’s, which is smooth in a weird way.

I think that all else being equal (texture, other flavor components, acid, etc), higher brix fruit tastes better (within reason, it needs to be balanced). But brix by itself isn’t enough. I’ve tasted wild mulberries that are astonishingly sweet, but are otherwise watery and flavorless. That’s called ‘insipid’, and it doesn’t really invite more sampling unless you’re bored or trying to see if it was a one-off. Dates, on the other hand, are through the roof sweet, but they have a richness that balances it out.


If it was just about brix only then dates would be your favorite fruit. The most popular fruits usually have a sweet/tart component to them but everyone has different taste buds.


If you are tasting side-by-side two nectarines/cherries/apples/pears/etc, 95% of the time the one with more brix will taste better. Since brix is also correlated with more ripeness and less water washing out flavors in general, it is hard to say exactly how much is due to the sugar though.

I have had some cases when fruits seemed too sweet, lots of sugar without the flavor to go with it just tastes like you are sucking on a sugar cube. If there is not enough acid this can easily happen. The opposite problem is too much acid, high brix won’t taste very sweet if there is a ton of acid. One of my seedling apples was super-sour, I thought it was about 10 brix but I measured and it was approaching 20.


My experience is the same. They taste like two different fruit to me and which one is sweeter isn’t the major difference to me.


It can be achieved without deficit irrigation- the problem for me is that high brix low acid nects produce poorly and get attacked by wasps long before being ripe. As far as you assigning supremacy to them- that is written on your palate and not stone.

Part of the joy of producing fruit for me is also doing so in the outdoors and not in a controlled environment. The challenges just enhance the reward and how fruit tastes is relative to what you are used to.

Nectarines are more than just sweeter smooth skinned peaches and their superiority to peaches is largely a matter of individual taste. I still enjoy eating peaches even when my orchard is full of higher brix nects.

A great freestone peach has a melting texture all its own.


Dates to me are the perfect example of too sweet and little flavor. High brix stone fruit is much better. A lot is personal preference. But I don’t often eat dates. They are too sweet with not much flavor.

A good orange at 14 brix is better to me than a date at 50 brix. I buy the oranges.


I hear you there! They are a bit like candy. I enjoy eating them by themselves, but it’s nicer still to balance them further with some nuts or to have them with tea or coffee. I agree my favorite fruits have a sweet/tart balance like stone fruits and citrus, but I like super sweet dates and persimmons, and super sour currants and cranberries. They’re all great, just for different reasons.

The other part of the equation is training your taste buds. I used to think Fuyu persimmons were only worth eating as an echo of what a good American persimmon can taste like. As I’ve been eating more of them the last few years, I’ve come to notice a lot of nuance and depth of flavor that I had missed before. It’s easy to miss what you’re not looking for.


I like my red Haven peaches when they are still crunchy-crisp. It has all the flavors without the overwhelmingly sweet. Getting hit by too many brix can knock my teeth out.


This link has a little bit of info on brix and its relationship with good produce —> A brix scale is a useful tool in evaluating the quality of produce.
Essentially they say that the favorable growing conditions that elevate brix levels will also elevate the nutrient levels and flavenoids in the fruit. Sounds reasonable I guess. They also have a chart with examples of various brix levels for different produce. In my experience testing apples, cantaloupe, peaches, plums and watermelons, the numbers seem reasonable . I know that homegrown euro plums can get into the low to mid 20s or even higher. At that point they are whatever is beyond excellent I guess :smile: I’m assuming it’s the same with other homegrown fruits in optimal conditions, especially cherries. Here’s their chart.
brix1 (3b)


Thanks, very interesting chart! Not for the fruit which I know, but for things like sorghum etc. 30 brix sorghum?? :astonished:

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I wonder if they’re referring to cane sorghum rather than grain? Have you ever tried sorghum syrup (aka sorghum molasses)?

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