How do I grow and refine sugar?

The whole reason for the selfsufficientish website was to offer a place where anyone can ask, HOW DO I...? So who knows why it has taken us so long to have a HOW DO I? section, but here it is. So if you want to know how to do anything selfsufficientish then here is the place to ask.
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gregorach
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #265370 gregorach
Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:09 am

It one of those incredibly energy-intensive processes which only really become economic at large scale... British Sugar use the waste process heat to grow tomatoes.

I'm not sure about sugar beet, but to reduce birch sap to a syrup, you're looking at a 200:1 reduction. That's a heck of a lot of boiling!

The thing about cane sugar is that you can burn the bagasse (the residual fibre from processing the cane) to provide the heat to reduce the syrup, so it's much more economic. With beet, you need to find an additional fuel for the process heat.

Given the current price of sugar and the efficiencies of scale, I'd be extremely surprised if it comes anywhere close to making sense to grow your own. Not that everything always has to make sense, of course...
Cheers

Dunc

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2ndRateMind
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #265382 2ndRateMind
Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:37 am

gregorach wrote:... Not that everything always has to make sense, of course...


Ah, but when the rapture comes, and all those nice, rich, capitalist types are swept up to heaven to be with Jesus, and all we self-sufficientish malcontents are left behind to suffer the tribulation with nothing but our existing skills, the tools we have to hand, and our can-do attitude, it would be good to know how to make sugar, it being such a vital ingredient for booze. I, for one, do not intend to face the end-times sober.

Cheers, 2RM.
Last edited by 2ndRateMind on Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:04 am, edited 4 times in total.

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gregorach
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #265384 gregorach
Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:14 am

Me neither, but I tend to get my fermentables from barley rather than sugar... At a push, potatoes and green malt would serve. :wink:
Cheers

Dunc

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2ndRateMind
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #265401 2ndRateMind
Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:45 pm

gregorach wrote:At a push, potatoes and green malt would serve. :wink:


Forgive my ignorance, but what are we talking? Whisky, beer, vodka, potcheen?

Anxious to learn, 2RM

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gregorach
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #265408 gregorach
Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:17 am

If it involves potatoes, it usually ends up as vodka or potcheen... The green malt provides the enzymes necessary to convert the starch in the potatoes to fermentable sugars. I've never tried it myself, I've just heard stories... (Apparently there used to be a chap at my allotment site that always put his plot down to 1/4 barley and 3/4 potatoes, and had a pot still in his shed.) But it should work. Of course, if you distil it, there's certain risks involved...

Beer and whisky should only involve grain.
Cheers

Dunc

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2ndRateMind
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #265414 2ndRateMind
Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:20 am

gregorach wrote: ...Apparently there used to be a chap at my allotment site that always put his plot down to 1/4 barley and 3/4 potatoes, and had a pot still in his shed...


Ha ha, there's a guy with his priorities sorted!

gregorach wrote:Beer and whisky should only involve grain.


Yes, that's what I thought. I just was wondering if you had new, improved versions of the recipes!

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #266416 Dutch Dave
Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:13 pm

A good replacement, if you like to grow your own "sweet stuff" is a plant known to us as "Stevia" ( official name is :Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni.)

Its a plant that has the sweetest leaves, the sweetness is more concentrated then regular sugar and it doesnt make you fat.

I have only been experimenting with it for a short while now but i expect it to be able to replace sugar in cooking , tea and coffee. For wine beer and that sort of things is will not do, as it only tastes sweet, it is not really sugar.

It can be grown in a greenhouse or at home behind a window, it grows pretty fast so one or two plants will do for a small family. Cuttings grow pretty easy under the right conditions. I don't know if you might be able to get them there though.

As far as i know sugar beets contain 12% sugar, John Seymour writes about the process in his book "the new complete book of self sufficieny". he discribes a very simple process of boiling the beets, he doesn't refine the sugar. He claims it takes away the last good nutriënts in the sugar.


Dave

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #266436 Ellendra
Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:35 pm

A lazy way to get mollasses from sugar beets would be to slice or shred the beets, simmer in water until tender, then drain and use the beet itself as a vegetable. With the pan of juice, set it on a warm stove or heater all day (this is assuming it's winter and you have wood heat, you did say this was after the fall of civilization, after all), bring it up to a boil at leat once a day to prevent it from becoming a petri dish. Add more beet juices as you cook them. Eventually enough water will have evaporated that you'll notice it becoming thicker, at which point you can bring it up to a boil and simmer gently until it reaches the syrup stage.

Probably wouldn't provide much, but it would still be a nice treat.

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #266443 marshlander
Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:47 pm

Terri x
“I'd rather be a little weird than all boring.”
Rebecca McKinsey

Alienor60
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: #266884 Alienor60
Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:46 pm

I just watched an episode of WarTime Farm, and there was said, you'll need at least 6 sugar beet roots for one Kilo of pure sugar.
All the best, Marianne


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