Sugar beets

How do they get the sugar out of sugar beets? And where are sugar beets grown?


There was a lot of sugar beet grown in Ireland until the sugar factories closed down about 20 years ago. For some reason, you would see the beet piled up in great heaps beside the road. I guess the arrangement was that the farmers would just leave them there and the factory’s trucks would come and collect them.

California is where they are grown. When I was a fourth-grader in California, we learned ALLLLLLLLL about sugar beets.

The harvested beets are washed, tops cut off, and then ground up to make juice. The juice is processed the same way sugar cane juice is.

Actually, they were grown thoughout the western US. Remember U&I Sugar? And what the U and I stood for? That’s right, Utah and Idaho, which is where the beets were grown. At least initially, that is, they expanded to other states later. For example, they used to have a beet processing plant in Moses Lake, Washington.

Beet beet sugar beet beet sugar beet sugar beet bEEEEeeeet… SUGAR!

I am in your debt. I went looking for that a little while ago and found nothing. The fact that that was posted in 2008 and I searched a year or so ago suggests I wasn’t trying hard enough.

80% of sugar comes from sugarcane. The rest is beets and “other.”

Were grown?

OK, “are grown”. I was under the impression that sugar beet production was decreasing in the US, but I’m no doubt mistaken about that. I couldn’t find any stats of its annual production on the Infobahn, though.

My area of Michigan is big beet-growing territory. At harvest time, huge dump trucks, with extra-height cages added to hold even more beets, are a common sight on roads and highways, taking the sweet tubers to the processing plant.

For my wife and me, it’s not truly autumn until we see or hear a report about a top-heavy beet truck that rolled over going too fast on an expressway entrance ramp.

Meat loaf beet loaf I hate meat loaf. And beets.

Here’s a 1997 map showing percent of cropland with sugar beets.

Minnesota rules!

(I know, I know…it’s not necessarily more than anywhere else, just a percentage of what is grown–as opposed to how much. But, hey, it’s Minnesota. We don’t get to crow about much very often. Leave me alone.)