Where did sugar beets originate?
The tap root was not known until the 2nd or 3rd Century AD. It was grown from 2000 BC for its leaves and then by the Greeks and Romans as 'Chard' or as Spinach. It was later used (in Italy) as a vegetable, roasted whole. In England it was used as cattle fodder during the 18th Century. During the Napoleonic Wars France was deprived of sugar by the English Fleet and Napoleon encouraged research into Sugar Beet. By the 1850's sugar from beet had become well established over Europe