While working the Beet Harvest in North Dakota, I began to do some research on sugar beets. I learned lots of interesting facts, one of them being how to make sugar from the beets. It is really a simple process, you peel and slice the beets, then you boil them. Boiling them extracts the sugar and you are left with a thin sugary liquid. You boil this liquid down into a syrup, you can continue to simmer until crystals form, but we decided not to go that far. The syrup tastes very similar to molasses, so we have been using it on french toast for breakfast.
Most sugar beets are white in color, but a few of them are a vibrant red or pink. The color cooks out of the red ones, so once they are white after cooking. I collected mostly larger beets while working at the harvest, later I found out the smaller ones usually contain a higher percentage of sugar. I will get a bunch of smaller beets next year and see if we can make a larger batch of syrup.
We have a wide range of interesting equipment with us on The Scholl Bus, one item that falls into that category is our antique fruit press. We dug it out from under our bed, cleaned the dust off, and pressed the beets to get the most juice out. We also placed some of the cooked beets in a pickling brine, these will taste good in a few weeks I am sure.
You may also notice in the pictures our interesting cooking appliance. The NuWave Personal Induction Cooktop, or PIC, is one of our recent additions to the bus. It is a very different cooking method, we will have a review post for the PIC coming out in the next few weeks.