! from hearts to hands: February 2011
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." ~ Leo Buscaglia

February 26, 2011

making your own sugar is as easy as one, two, three

Did you know that you can get sugar from a beet and not just any ordinary beet.  We have Napoleon to thank for this.   During the Napoleonic Wars, sugar was scarce, and he encouraged the production of sugar beets on a very large scale. 
Remember Victory Gardens?  During this time period, sugar beets were planted by farmers and in home gardens as a regular crop and later turned into sugar.  The greens and left over pulp are great food for livestock or can be added either to your regular compost or vermicomposting bin.

Sugar Beets – a pound or more
  1. Wash and scrub beets well
  2. Slice beets into slices slices or grate into small pieces
  3. Place the beets in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover them
  4. Cook beets on medium heat until they are soft and lose their coloring
  5. Strain beets with a colander and reserve the juice.
  6. Return juice to saucepan and simmer until it develops a thick and syrupy consistency similar to corn syrup or honey
  7. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  As the syrup cools, it will start to crystallize.  Cover pan with cheesecloth or a dishtowel and allow to sit overnight.
  8. Remove the crystallized beet sugar from the pan and pound (break) it into small sugar crystals
  9. Store in an air-tight container and use as you would sugar

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