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|A drop of plant juice starts drying immediately. Wind and sun speed the drying. If you suspect that your test drop dried enough to affect your result, clean your refractometer and start over. It only takes a moment
Experts suggest that you re-check most tests when you first start using your own refractometer. The ability to duplicate your work by crosschecking is a powerful confidence builder.
Be alert for fading of the demarcation line in the viewing screen. Fading means the sample is drying on the prism. Do not confuse this with fuzziness (blurring---see below) f the demarcation line. You may want to gain experience at spotting fading with your refractometer. Place the smallest drop on the prism that will give a demarcation line. Then examine the screen for a minute or so. Fading should occur fairly soon as the moisture evaporates.
Dehydration is necessary when preparing certain foods. For instance, you must remove many gallons of water from maple sap to make a gallon of maple syrup. A refractometer user could determine in advance exactly how many gallons to evaporate by checking the brix of the fresh sap.
Some refractometer users also know raw sap with HIGH BRIX produces far better, tastier, and more abundant syrup.
Stored fruit & vegetables either rot or dehydrate. Rotting in storage is an unmistakable sign of poor quality. Dehydration is an absolute sign of HIGH QUALITY. The purveyors of low-quality fruits and vegetables seem willing to resist this fact until the end of time. Many consumers are terribly confused on this point because they have been conditioned to cut off rotting portions of a fruit or vegetable and eat the remainder.
Please understand that testing the juice from a dehydrated item of produce can be misleading. Your refractometer will indicate a higher than true brix. While seldom a problem when selecting foods, checking leave tissues in a field of heat-stressed plants can result in erroneous readings. You should avoid using a refractometer to check any plant with any possibility of lack of turgor¾ i.e., droopy leaves. Even when drought is not apparent, it is best to check leaves as early in the morning as possible.