How do I grow and refine sugar?

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2ndRateMind
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How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265240Post 2ndRateMind
Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:22 pm

Hey, y'all, once again.

Here's a poser for you. I use a lot of sugar, either in preserves or in home brewed wine and beer. As the recently arrived tenant of a newly aquired allotment, I am wondering if it may be worth my while putting a dozen or so square metres down to sugar beet, and trying to extract the stuff myself, as a step towards self-sufficiency. Has anyone done this? How does one go about the processing? How much land would I need to get, say, 12 kilos of sugar per month for my assorted culinery and alcoholic ventures?

Thanks, as always, for your wisdom. 2RM.

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265241Post GeorgeSalt
Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:08 pm

You don't (at least not easily) ;) .. if you look at the process on the British Sugar website you'll see that refined white sugar is complicated when you start with sugar beet.

Edit.. Link To British Sugar "Journey of Sugar". If the smell of the local sugar beet factory os anything to go by, it's not something that would be welcome in the kitchen.
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265286Post Ellendra
Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:27 pm

Many years ago I saw a tip on using a particular type of juicer to refine sugar with. The person said that if you ran the hot syrup through it, it spun fast enough that the centripital force seperated out the crystals from the impurities. I never tried it, and I haven't been able to find that tip since, so I'm not sure if it works.

(Most large-scale refineries use centrifuges at some stage in the process, since everything has a different density.)

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265287Post 2ndRateMind
Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:30 pm

GeorgeSalt wrote:You don't (at least not easily) ;) .. if you look at the process on the British Sugar website you'll see that refined white sugar is complicated when you start with sugar beet.

Edit.. Link To British Sugar "Journey of Sugar". If the smell of the local sugar beet factory os anything to go by, it's not something that would be welcome in the kitchen.

Yes, thanks for that, George. They make it all look very complicated, don't they? I wonder why - maybe to persuade us independent spirits that we can't do without them?

But it needn't be pristine pure crystaline white sugar - molasses would do. It all gets dissolved in water, anyway. And molasses can't be all that difficult, seeing as people were producing it in the West Indies on the back of nothing but slave labour, 300 years before we invented limeX, whatever that is.

Cheers, 2RM.
Last edited by 2ndRateMind on Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265289Post MKG
Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:35 pm

First get your beet seed. It's been nigh on impossible (in the UK) recently.

Maybe it's changed now - but I don't think so.

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265293Post 2ndRateMind
Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:40 pm

Found some contenders with a google search. But before I spend any money, I'd like to know what I'm going to do with them, once harvested.

Cheers, 2RM.

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265295Post GeorgeSalt
Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:01 pm

2ndRateMind wrote:Yes, thanks for that, George. They make it all look very complicated, don't they? I wonder why - maybe to persuade us independent spirits that we can't do without them?

But it needn't be pristine pure crystaline white sugar - molasses would do. That can't be all that difficult, seeing as people were producing it in the West Indies on the back of nothing but slave labour, 300 years before we invented limeX, whatever that is.

Cheers, 2RM.
I think it's easier of you start with sugar cane, as they do in the West Indies. Beet is second best as a source of sugar at best.

LimeX is a byproduct, it's what's left of the lime from the process and goes for agricultural use on the land. It stinks to high heaven when fresh. Round here is the heart of beet production in the UK, the campaign is a part of the year everyone in Norfolk and Lincolnshire will be familiar with.

Wiki gives possible hope (link)..
"An unrefined sugary syrup can be produced directly from sugar beet. This thick, dark syrup is produced by cooking shredded sugar beet for several hours, then pressing the resulting sugar beet mash and concentrating the juice produced until it has the consistency similar to that of honey. No other ingredients are used. In Germany, particularly the Rhineland area, this sugar beet syrup (called Zuckerrüben-Sirup or Zapp in German) is used as a spread for sandwiches, as well as for sweetening sauces, cakes and desserts."

Sugar beet seeds.. that's something I might be able to get a hold of at the right time of year.
Curently collecting recipes for The Little Book of Liqueurs..

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265297Post 2ndRateMind
Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:10 pm

Ah, now that's a positive sort of clue. I can work with that. By cooking, though, does one mean boiling, roasting, frying, fricasseeing or casseroling? I think a little research is required. I shall trawl the net, and let you know what I find out.

Cheers, 2RM.

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265299Post GeorgeSalt
Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:11 pm

I presume it's boiling. Something along the lines of wash, peel, slice then boil for hours (perhaps pressure cooking?), then strain (perhaps washing the beet to remove further sugar?) and then reduce the liquor to a treacly syrup.

I think CJ Berry has a recipe for sugar beet wine, now that I think on it.

I've scanned through a few German sites looking for Zuckerrüben-Sirup recipes. There's certainly a lot of recipes using it, but whenever making it yourself is mentioned the story seems to keep reverting back to the story of Grandma making it during the war out of desperation and noone's tried it again since! (I gather it's quite rough and there are lots of opportunities for ruining it). However, those that are raising the question are frequently getting directed instead to apple syrup. Reducing apple juice to a syrup consistence by slow evaporation (5-6 hours) on the hob until it's reduced to a thick, sweet syrup. I think I might give that a go over the Autumn/Winter by placing a pan of apple juice on top of the woodburner.
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265310Post 2ndRateMind
Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:55 am

GeorgeSalt wrote:
...I think CJ Berry has a recipe for sugar beet wine, now that I think on it...
Indeed he does, under November. Well, that's all the excuse I need to grow it! And a bit extra for experimentation on.

Thanks, 2RM.

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265331Post Crickleymal
Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:00 pm

I have just finished reading a book about a bomber shot down in the last great unpleasantness. When one of the crew was on the run (or it could be when he was marched across Germany as a POW) he tried eating sugar beet and found it only slightly sweet and not very filling. That would suggest that it will need quite a bit of concentrating to get anything properly sweet.
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265335Post Skippy
Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:27 pm

2ndRateMind wrote:
GeorgeSalt wrote:
...I think CJ Berry has a recipe for sugar beet wine, now that I think on it...
Indeed he does, under November. Well, that's all the excuse I need to grow it! And a bit extra for experimentation on.

Thanks, 2RM.

I've tried that recipe many years ago and it was fairly easy if I recall but not the most flavoursome of wines. I always considered trying again but adding fruit to give it a little extra but never got round to it , but good luck if you try it.


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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265336Post Davie Crockett
Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:33 pm

Just found another link: http://www.ukagriculture.com/crops/suga ... arming.cfm

Wash, Chop, simmer at 70°c, seed, centrifuge/strain.
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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265357Post southeast-isher
Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:17 pm

what about harvesting xlyitol from i think birch tree sap?

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Re: How do I grow and refine sugar?

Post: # 265368Post boboff
Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:53 am

Look at "Food Factory" which was on last night, the Sugar Beat product seemed ok, but the Fafffff was tremendous.
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