How to Extract Glucose From Plants

Processing your own glucose, or sugar, from plants grown in your garden is a relatively easy project. Before the mass commercialization of sugar, farmers grew sugar beets and made their own sugar. The traditional method of processing sugar beets produces beet-sugar syrup, which is used instead of honey in cooking and as a spread at the table and can be processed for its sugar crystals.

Sugar beet, cross-section (full frame)
credit: Ryan McVay/Valueline/Getty Images
Sugar beets are sliced before processing.

Step 1

Cut the green tops off the sugar beets. Set aside the greens for cooking, feeding to livestock or the compost pile.

Step 2

Wash the beets thoroughly, using a plastic scrubber to remove dirt. Rinse several times until the beets are clean.

Step 3

Slice the beets into thin slices on a cutting board. Place the sliced beets into a large stew pot.

Step 4

Cover the beets with water. Bring the beets and water to a boil and then reduce the temperature to medium. Cook for an hour or until the beets are tender.

Step 5

Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place it over a large pot or heatproof bowl. Pour the beets into the strainer and save the beet sugar water. Set the cooked beets aside for dinner, canning or freezing.

Step 6

Set the beet sugar water back onto the stove. Simmer on low for several hours, until the beet sugar water cooks down to the consistency of honey.

Step 7

Pour into clean glass jars and place the lids loosely onto the threads. Do not tighten the lids; allow the steam to escape. Tighten the lids after the jars have cooled completely. Store the beet sugar syrup in the refrigerator.

Step 8

Remove the sugar crystals as they form in the syrup. Allow them to dry, then crush them to make dry sugar crystals.

Step 9

Substitute the beet sugar syrup for honey or sugar in recipes. The texture of baked goods may vary, since you're using a thick liquid instead of sugar. Reduce other added liquids such as milk or water slightly to compensate for the syrup.


Ruth de Jauregui

Ruth de Jauregui

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.