A sugar beet takes four months to mature. After the fall harvest, the turnip-shaped roots, which weigh from one to 20 pounds, must be either placed in cold storage or processed immediately, as they tend to rot quickly. In processing, they are washed and sliced, then transferred to large tanks, where very hot water leeches out the raw sugar—which accounts for between 15 and 20 percent of each beet's volume. The beet fiber is processed separately into livestock feed, while the raw juice is purified and filtered, boiled down to a thick syrup, then turned to slush with sugar powder. Beet molasses, used by brewers and yeast manufacturers, is drawn off by centrifuge. The remaining crystals are cooled, dried, passed through screens to separate the grains according to size, then packaged. Do not, as they say, try this at home.