How to Grow Sugar Beets & MYO Sugar

Did you realize that the majority of sugar sold in the USA is not from sugar cane, but rather from Sugar Beets? Lately, with the growing concerns of chemicals and unknown additives in our food supply, I’ve become increasingly interested in learning how to make my own sugar. Whaddya’ Know, It’s really not that difficult! Here’s how to grow sugar beets & myo sugar!


How to Grow Sugar Beets & MYO Sugar

To get started you’ll need some Sugar Beet Seeds. Sugar beets are not the same as those beautiful round, plump red beets that leave not so pretty little stains on everything their juice touches. Sugar beets contain 12-21% sucrose.

They can be planted about 3-4 weeks before the last frost (which means if you hurry you can get them in the ground for an early crop!). We’ve seen on some sites that they’re drought hardy and require surprisingly little water to grow well and yet others stating that they are not drought hardy.

We have not tested the drought version and are hoping we don’t have to! Sugar beets do not grow well in highly acidic soils and prefer a soil with a pH of 6.0-8.0.


Simply follow the basic instructions on the packet of seeds. They should be planted at a depth of about 1/4″ and to make them weed-free apply 2-3 inches of mulch around the base of the plant once it sprouts.

Sugar beets prefer well-drained soil, rich in hummus, but the ideal medium is sandy loam- a mixture of organic matter, clay, and sand. They love warm days and cool nights, so if you live in a Southern State you’ll need to plant in early spring or early fall. They reach maturity is 90-100 days. Please be aware these are Biennial plants.

Once the beets are grown, harvest them by pulling them out of the ground and wash them thoroughly. As a close relative of turnips and other varieties of beets, the greens are also edible for kids and livestock alike.

How to Make Sugar

Dice the beets into small cubes, place them in a large stockpot with just enough water to cover the cubes. Bring them to a boil and continue boiling for about an hour. Carefully strain the beet pulp from the liquid, reserving the liquid (as this contains your sugar!).

Next comes the difficult part, straining it very thoroughly. Remove ALL of the beet pulp from the liquid, strain it through several layers of cheesecloth, gathering the corners, and squeezing gently to separate the liquid from the pulp.

Failure to remove ALL of the pulp will result is a product that stores poorly.

Return the strained liquid to the stockpot over high heat. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer it uncovered (as the point is to REMOVE the water) until it has reached 1/3 of its starting volume.

Once it has reached that volume, remove it from the heat, cool. Scrape out the crystals. Boil the juice again until the liquid is gone. Cool, remove the crystals. The end product will be a dark brown sugar with a slight flavor similar to molasses. If you purchase raw sugar or sucanot you will likely enjoy the flavor of your homemade sugar.

If you decide to make your own sugar, we’d love to hear your results!

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / grafvision
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / luiscar

About Liss 4073 Articles
Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money.


  1. this looks like a good idea. what sort of yield can i expect? how many beets to produce a pound of sugar?

    can this sugar be used as granulated white/brown sugar?

  2. very interesting article…. i have been trying to find a way to make my own sugar for a while now. i do plan on trying this.

    will keep you posted as to how i fair.

  3. since i am a replace the grocery store fanatic, i would love to know how many pounds of beets make one pound of sugar. this way, i can plan on planting enough beets to really make it worthwhile when making the sugar and make a good amount of it.

  4. here in wy there are acres and acres of sugar beets and a sugar beet factory in the next town over. i see trucks and trucks of beets going to the factory for months on end. granted they are supplying most of wy’s sugar.

    (ie. gv brand) but, i am too curious as to how many beet it would take to make a pound of sugar. they are very large veggies, but i still think it would take a bunch of beets to make any amount of sugar.

  5. if you are concerned about unknown additives in your food, most if not all sugar beets are GMO. I would stick to pure cane sugar.

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