That's right, the name does't lie--sugar beets can give you sugar! A hardy grower, cold tolerant and can thrive in sun or partial shade and, surprisingly for a "sweet" veggie, doesn't require a lot of water. Beets even have a high tolerance for low fertility soil. The Sugar Beet is the ultimate versatile crop, as it can be enjoyed as a sweet root vegetable, leafy greens can be harvested and consumed as well, and of course it can be processed for sugar!
Sugar Beet roots are not a typical beet, being a very large white and tapered root. Largely regarded as one of the best crops for your "sustainable" farm.
How to Make Sugar from Beets:
Once harvested, separate greens from roots. Beets should be thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed with a stiff brush. Sugar beets should then be cubed or shredded with a food processor, then boiled in a large pot with just enough water to cover the beet material. Boiling the beets for about 1 hour will extract the sugar and beet material should be mushy, boiling times may vary based on the size of your cubes and toughness of the beets. Once boiled down, beet pulp should be strained from the liquid through a cheese cloth. Beet pulp can be wrung in the cheese cloth to get the maximum amount of moisture out of the pulp. Sometimes double straining may be necessary to make sure all beet pulp is removed from the liquid--this is necessary or your finished product will not store well. The remaining liquid now needs to be boiled again and reduced down to your desired viscosity. Liquid can be boiled all the way down until crystals form, but reducing to a kind of syrup can also be effective. This process of reducing can take several hours, depending on how much liquid you started with and the starting sugar content of your crop.