December 12th, 2011

How sweet it is

I decided to go ahead and process the sugar beet last night while it was still fresh. After cleaning, peeling, and shredding it, I had about two cups of beet pulp. The raw beet just tasted like diluted sugar with a slight earthy aftertaste, kind of like raw potato has. (One website says it tastes good roasted together with other root vegetables. I may try that someday if I ever grow more.)

The beet starts out white, but the shredded pulp quickly oxidizes to an ugly charcoal gray. Boiling, straining, and more boiling resulted in about 1/4 cup of a molasses-colored liquid that tastes remarkably like maple syrup. It would probably be quite good on pancakes, if you didn't mind pouring something black on your breakfast.

The hardest part was shredding the whole beet on a cheese grater. If I had an easier way to accomplish that, I probably wouldn't mind doing the process again. I don't know that I'd go out of my way to plan a big crop, but it could certainly be worth growing more beets in any empty squares in the carrot/parsnip bed.