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Thanks much for the additional information and corrections. When it comes to impurities, the guide specifically mentioned rat droppings and dirt. Interesting that they still gave us little packets of turbinado sugar in the goodie bags everyone one the tour received.
I doubt that C&H offers tours any longer. Liability, and homeland security, you know.
Maybe we should get back to trains before Mike lowers the boom on us.
Garth G. Groff
Dave Nelson wrote:
Garth Groff wrote:
Tim,Garth, I thik a return trip might be called for! 8-)
At the risk of getting a Mike Brock no-no, I will say that your
description of the sugar refining process is essentially correct. The
cane or beets are crushed, then cooked to drive off a highly
concentrated sweet liquid. This is then centrifuged, probably more
than once, depending on desired product, to remove the water and
impurities. The intermediate steps are (IIRC from my tour of C&H 30 years ago)
raw or turbinado sugar, brown sugar, and finally table white sugar.
Taking sugar beets as the example, the process is:
- wash the beets
- slice them
- hot water extraction of sugar
- filtration (different steps using coke (pure carbon), mother of lime, and
- creation of a supersaturated solution
- first crystal extraction -- white
- repeat crystalization -- the color turning browner with each repeat
- molassas extraction
The color in sugar is nothing more than impurities they couldn't filter out.
These impurities are various compounds from the sugar bearing plant itself,
cell walls for instance. When they're finally done extracting as much sugar
as they can the residue - molassas -- is still about 50% sugar.
Both the spent beet slices and molasses are used as cattle feed -- the
former often consumed at or near the refinery and the later mixed with
things like alfalfa to make feed pellets. Coke, limestone, and sulphur for
the filtration steps were usually rail delivered in the steam era. And
somewhere in the process you can create MSG but I don't recall how.
For those who enjoy a good how-to book I can recommend _The Manufacture of
Beet Sugar_ made available by the Great Western Sugar Company ca 1921. It
was handed to each new mgmt employee as their introduction to the business.