Process sugar beets by slicing them, extracting the sugar with a water bath, purifying the extracted juice through carbonatation, and then boiling the juice down to concentrate the sugar into crystals. This process is usually done by machinery in a large processing plant.
Most sugar comes from either sugar beets or sugar cane. The process for extracting sugar from sugar beets and sugar cane is quite similar.
Sugar beets are sliced thinly and placed with hot water into a diffuser. Sugar from the thin sugar beet slices diffuses into the water in a process similar to making tea from tea bags. The resulting sugar beet juice contain most of the sugar from the beet. When the diffusion process is finished, the beet pulp is pressed to extract any remaining juice. The beet pulp is later dried for use in animal feeds.
The next step in processing sugar beets is called carbonatation. Clumps of non-sugar chalk form in the juice and are filtered out. After carbonatation, the juice is evaporated and boiled to concentrate the sugar. Sugar crystals and molasses begin to form. The molasses is separated, and the sugar crystals are dried and packed for shipping.
Process sugar beets at home by grating or slicing the beets, boiling them until they are soft, purifying them with milk of lime and seltzer water, and then cooking the purified mass again to separate the sugar from the molasses.