On a side note, I hear people hating on wikipedia because "anyone" can add to it. Well this is true, but thats why you go to the references at the bottom of the page. If they arent up to your standards, you can move on. Many times a study is cited which cites another page and so on. A lot of information can be found.
Sugar beets yes : I've eaten them (gram used to grow them) but I honestly never thought about making sugar with them LOL Never heard of sugar made from beets so it's as ....confusing to me as making sugar with apples.
Beet sugar was a large industry in Denver Colorado up until about the seventy's.
While we still had industry.
The Ecology of Growing Sugar Beets.
There are only a few places in the world perfectly suited for the sugar beet horticulture.
Sugar beets require a specific balance of light, minerals, and water in order to produce a minimum of 12% sugar content by mass — and this balance must follow a specific seasonal schedule.
The plains along the Front Range of Colorado had this balance unlike anywhere else in the world. In fact, the balance was so perfect that some areas featured an alarming 17% sugar content by mass.
Yes but only a small amount. My wife teaches at a school and she wanted to this to take to school and show the class a sugar beet and for them to be able to taste the sugar that was made from it.
One of the kids brought in a sugar beet and she brought it home and we cut it into very small thin pieces and put it into boiling water at a slow boil for a long time , then removed the pieces and continued to boil it down until there was nothing left but a thick sludge on the bottom.
We let it cool and get hard then we gratted it with a fine gratter. And it was a brown very sweet sugar. She took it to school for the kids to see and try.
We searched this on the internet , I don't know how many ways you can do it but this was the one we tried , it worked but was a very long process though , and I don't know how they get it white.
I think they had some large beet sugar plants here in Washington and nearby states too. I used to grow some big beets and it put ideas in my head to process them into sugar. I never went far with the idea. I don't know how you would do it on a small scale. We are better off with honey anyway...
sounds like the poster above has knowledge of boiling it down to make sugar.
Michigan produces a lot of beet sugar. Pioneer and Big Chief are the two largest producers that I can think of we have sugar factories in Bay City, Caro, Croswell, and Sebewaing. You can't tell any difference in taste in beet or cane sugar.
In the fall in northern Mi there are roadside stands set up all over the place with farmers sells bags of apples , carrots , corn and sugar beets. All of these are used by the hunters for baiting deer.
If you have never seen a sugar beet , it is kind of an ugly looking thing actually pretty large. They look nothing like your garden variety beets.
I was born in the sleepy little town of Nyssa, Oregon and there happens to be a sugar plant there that makes sugar from sugar beets grown here in Idaho and in Oregon. There process is a bit more entailed than this one, but there process also uses a lot of chemicals.
1.) Wash and clean beets.
2.) Grate or shred beets, preferrable to use food processor, you want it as fine and small as you can get it.
3.) Put beets in a pan with enough water to keep them from sticking, cook on high adding water as neccesary and stir every few minutes to keep from burning on the bottom of the pan. You could also put them in large crockpot and cook for a longer time. Cook them until the pulp loses most of its color.
4.) Strain off the juices from the pulp, the pulp makes a good feed for livestock. We used to get it by the truck load to mix into silage for cows.
5.) Simmer the juice in a pan until it becomes the consistencey of honey or corn syrup.
6.) Remove from heat and allow it to crystallise, voila you now have some raw sugar, you will need to pulverise it into a powder or smaller pieces after this.
The commercial process I believe uses a light acid to create more sugar per amount of beet, and they also use chemicals to bleach the sugar white. Better off without the chemicals anyway.
I am growing beets for the first time this year, going to plant them much earlier next year though.
You guys got me to thinking on this so I went and did a little further study.
A question was asked on the sugar being white, apparently from what I read anyway the main way of removing the color is by putting chalk into the juice mixture. The chalk binds with the non sugar chemicals and to itself creating balls of chalk within the mixture and thereby removes much of the color and other non sugar chemicals. From talking to people who worked at the sugar plant in Nyssa there are also some chemicals they use to whiten as well.
On the number crunching end of it:
A Co op in Minnesota, 50,000 acres of beets planted produced 768,000 tons of beets, that divides out 15 tons per acre or ".7 pounds of beets per square foot planted."
The sugar plant they made in this Co op had a record day, sliced 8,873 tons of beets (17,746,000 pounds) to produce 2,174,600 of sugar.
On a commercial scale going by this days production it takes around "8.15 pounds of beets to produce 1 pound of sugar."
To produce one pound of sugar one would expect to plant around 12 square feet of sugar beets.
To produce a 25 pound bag one would plant around 17.5 ft by 17.5 ft for about 300 square feet.
1,000 square feet, 32 ft by 32 ft would produce around 85 pounds of sugar.
These numbers are based on commercial efficiency, on the growing end with a small crop you may well be able to outdo the commercial crops, the production of sugar on a small scale you may or may not be able to get the efficiency of the commercial system.
If you have an interest in producing your own beet sugar you now have some numbers to work with, like all numbers they are very relative, but should get you in the ball park.
Mountain, thanks so much for the information. This is perfect. I know I can grow sugar beets here, they mainly use them for livestock feed.
Since the price of sugar is going up so much (it has more than doubled in the past 6 months) , I've been looking at ways to substitute. I have bought stocks, but I would like to be able to make my own. I don't mind if it's not white, as long as there is sweetness. In times of stress, something sweet helps a soul feel comforted now and again!
And I wondered if it was a process that could be done at home. I see now that it can, and I will grow sugar beets next year.