Sugar beets are a natural source of sugar. Sugar was first isolated from beet roots in 1747 by Andreas Marggraf, a German Chemist.
It has a conical, white, fleshy root (a taproot) with a flat crown. The plant consists of the root and a rosette of leaves. Sugar is formed by photosynthesis in the leaves and is then stored in the root. The root of the beet contains around 20% sugar if soil and growing conditions are right! The average weight of sugar beet ranges between 1 and 2 lb).
Sugar beet foliage has a rich, brilliant green color and grows to a height of about 15 inches. Its closest wild relative is the Sea beet (Beta vulgaris maritima). This hardy vegetable prefers cooler climates and grows best in well drained, loose soil.
Sugar beets can be roasted for a sweet, caramelized flavor and are often mixed with other bitter root vegetables to balance out the flavor. Prepare and eat them just like regular beets. Can also be used to make molasses or wine. It possible to make a good unrefined sugar from this vegetable. Beet Syrup in Germany (Zuckerrübensirup) is sold as a spread and to flavor pumpernickel bread dough and sauerbraten. Earthy sweetness has its uses.
Non-GMO. Since beets are wind pollinated, recommended 5 mile isolation distance for seed saving, to preserve genetic purity.
Other names: Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris var. altissima, Betterave sucrière