Oh yeah I live in the north east and sugar cane is just not right for up here. But I would love to be able to have a sugar plant in my garden....well WOW I can.
The good old fashion sugar beet! Surprisingly it is the same sugar we get from sugar cane!
Once upon a time pre commercial take over, everyone grew their own sugar.
You plant the sugar beets in the early spring and just as they look...they grow like carrots do. You harvest them in the fall.
How to make the sugar (keep in mind this does take time)
- Clean your beets really good..and slice them small bits or you can even shred them.
- Put them in a pan and add water (just enough to cover them)
- Cook over medium heat till tender. (think mash potato tender)
- Once tender strain ( cheese cloth or towel are best because you can squeeze more of the water out of the beets, but you can use a regular strainer)
- Save this sugar water!!(You can stop right here and ferment the water for Rum!)
- Left over beets you can eat or can.
Next step is to simmer the sugar water over a low to medium heat till it turns to a brown molasses substance.....Make sure to stir frequently during this process! Once it is at this molasses stage take it off the heat. (at this point you now have a honey substitute!)
Let this cool and put into storage jars or containers.
Over the next few month (yes months!) this will crystallize.. make sure to check on it time to time to just brake it up.
Or you can just cheat and keep cooking on low till it crystallizes...But it does lose a little of its yummyness. But it is still sugar!!
And there you have it home grown sugar!! A renewable source of a very important staple!
Now it is just like your store bought sugar, but because it is all natural it does not caramelize like cane sugar does.
A few other things about the sugar beet
- Sugar beets attract wild live. (especially deer so in prepper talk that means meat attractor)
- Uridine which is in the beets helps with depression.
- It can be converted into fuel (which BP is already doing in some places)
PDF Popular Science article about sugar beets Click Here
PDF of ever thing you ever wanted to know about Sugar Beets ...way to much info but who knows. It is a 500 pager.
Song for this post has to be Def Leppard Pour Some Sugar