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.