How sugar is made from beets at a factory and is it possible to get it at home on your own
Russia ranks second in the world after the United States in the production of sugar from beets. For two centuries, the processing technology has practically not changed. Only factories have become automated and now require only control from a person.
In this article, you will learn how beet sugar is made and if you can repeat this experience at home.
The content of the article
- The best varieties of sugar beets
- How sugar is obtained from sugar beets at a factory
- How to make sugar at home
- Differences from the cane sugar process
- Let's sum up
The best varieties of sugar beets
The tubers of this culture contain about 20% sugars... This has made it possible to successfully extract sugar from them for many years.
The best varieties are considered:
- Bohemia - produces large fruits (up to 2 kg) with fast ripening and long storage.
- Bona - fruits of 300 g each, drought-resistant variety.
- Araxia has a high yield (800 fruits are obtained from 1 hectare of land).
- Big Ben - its yield is 700 units per hectare, the fruits are not prone to the formation of voids in the pulp.
How sugar is obtained from sugar beets at a factory
The process of obtaining sugar from root crops takes place in an automated plant and includes several stages.
Selection of raw materials
After the delivery of the beets to the plant, the fruits are weighed and randomly checked for the integrity and concentration of sugar... The fruit is then discharged onto a conveyor belt that leads to a washer.
There are various traps on the conveyor. They separate large debris: pieces of soil, stones, grass, and also cut the tops... The sink itself is a rotating drum into which a jet of water is supplied.
The fruits are cleaned of the remaining dirt under the influence of friction against each other and a strong jet. The whole process is controlled by the operator: he monitors the quality of the wash on the monitor.
Next, clean vegetables are sent to the next stage - slicing... Blades are installed inside a special machine. The fruits, falling under the knife, turn into shavings.
reference... The amount of sugar recovered in the future largely depends on the quality of this stage. The chips should be smooth and thin.
Extraction of sugar
The shavings are now directed towards the diffusion apparatus... It is a column, inside which there is a screw (screw, like in a meat grinder). The movement of chips along it occurs from the bottom up. Against the movement of the beets, from top to bottom, water is continuously poured. The sugar in beets dissolves. The whole process takes place at a certain temperature and without oxygen. At the end of the diffusion, sweet beet syrup remains at the bottom of the column, and de-sugar chips at the top.
reference... The pressed sugar beet pulp is not thrown away. It is dried and fed to livestock.
The process of extracting sugar from one batch takes 100 minutes.
The juice in its original form is not subject to crystallization... Besides 13% sugar, it contains about 2% various impurities. They are removed with burnt lime, which takes away unnecessary particles.
Thickening and crystallization
Thickening takes place in vacuum apparatus... The atmosphere in them is discharged, which allows the syrup to boil at 70 degrees. This is because at higher temperatures the sugar will simply burn out.
Thus, the liquid is boiled down in six stages and becomes thicker and more concentrated.... As a result, the juice contains not 13% sugar, but 60%.
It can be useful:
Now sugar crystals need to be separated from the liquid... The concentrated juice is sent to a centrifuge, where, under the action of centrifugal force, the sugar settles on the walls of the drum.
Final stage. The wet sugar is transported to the drying chamberwhere it is dried at a temperature of 100 degrees. The installation is in constant motion at this time. Granulated sugar is ready. It remains only to cool it down to room temperature in the same chamber.
How to make sugar at home
Despite the seeming complexity of the process, it is quite possible to repeat it at home.... In a slightly simplified version, of course.
To get sugar in the easiest way you will need:
- heavy object for the press;
- wide, low capacity, for example, a basin.
For more successful extraction of sugar, you can purchase an autoclave... This is a special apparatus for heating at high temperatures under pressure above atmospheric. It significantly speeds up the cooking process and increases the yield of the finished product. If you plan to cook sugar at home all the time, then it will definitely come in handy.
Step-by-step manufacturing instructions
There is more than one way to get sugar at home.... Below are short step-by-step instructions.
Method one, "grandmother":
- Rinse the beets, peel and cut into thin circles.
- Place them in a clay pot and place in the oven or oven. Make sure that the circles do not burn.
- When the beets are soft, place them on a baking sheet and put them back in the oven to dry.
- It remains to grind the dried slices into flour, and homemade granulated sugar is ready.
Advice... Some of the slices can be left unshredded. They go well with unsweetened tea.
Method two, obtaining syrup:
- Rinse the beets, trim the roots and top with tops. You do not need to remove the skin.
- Place fruits tightly in a saucepan of boiling water. There should be a lot of water so that after evaporation the tops of the roots do not open.
- Cook for one hour. Wait for the beets to cool and remove the skins.
- Cut the flesh into thin slices up to 1 mm thick.
- Cut these slices across into thin strips. Wrap the straw in a piece of cloth and place under the press.
- Place the resulting cake in a saucepan again and pour water in the ratio of the volume of beets to water 2: 1.
- Cook for 30 minutes. Drain the liquid from the pan to the one obtained from the press.
- Place the cake in the cloth and send it again under the press.
- Pour the resulting juice into a saucepan and heat to 70-80 degrees.
- Strain the juice through cheesecloth folded in several layers.
- Pour the strained juice into a wide, low container and cook over low heat until thickened. At this time, excess moisture will evaporate.
- Place the syrup in the freezer.
- Grind the frozen syrup in a coffee grinder or cut into cubes like refined sugar.
Method three, technological:
- Wash root vegetables, peel and put in an autoclave.
- Steam the beets at a pressure of 1.5 atm. until the pulp softens.
- Chop the fruits and pass through a press twice, as in the second method.
- Evaporate the filtered liquid in the same way until a thick syrup is formed.
- Freeze and chop.
Since the house lacks the necessary technological base in the form of centrifuges, diffusion apparatus, burnt lime, etc., the volume of sugar is much less.... To get 1 kg of granulated sugar, you will need to process 5 kg of root crops. And it turns out not pure, familiar to us sugar, but diluted syrup.
Homemade syrup will have a total sugar content of only 5% from the total mass.
Differences from the cane sugar process
Despite the popular belief that cane sugar is better than beet sugar, in fact, they are exactly the same in composition.... Refined, they have the same white color, taste and composition.
If we talk about unrefined forms, then there are differences, and they are significant... Unrefined beet sugar is not good for food, while cane sugar, on the contrary, is highly valued. It has a caramel taste and a warm brown color.
The main and only difference in the process of obtaining sugar from cane is that the reed is not chopped. Juice is immediately squeezed out of it. The rest of the steps in the factory are the same: evaporation, filtration, crystallization and drying.
Let's sum up
Getting sugar at home is a rather troublesome and long process. Due to the complexity of the equipment, it will not work to prepare exactly the same granulated sugar as in the store. Even having something more technological than an ordinary saucepan - an autoclave, you can only partially increase the volume of the finished product and speed up the process.
The average productivity of home methods is 1 kg of sugar from 5 kg of beets. Be that as it may, making homemade sugar is a very interesting experience and the possibility of switching to sugar self-sufficiency, when you can not depend on the prices for it in the store.