What is Birch Sap?
Birch sap is a pure and renewable natural resource. It is a solution of nutrients needed and produced by birch trees, which flows inside the trees in the spring in a fresh, liquid form from the roots towards the top.
When, Where and How Can Birch Sap be Collected?
The timing of the birch sap collection period depends totally on the weather conditions of each year. The collection period is extremely short, only approximately 3 – 5 weeks per year. Generally sap starts to flow in April, and the collection period is over when the leaves start budding. In the beginning of the collection season the scene in the forest is still wintry and there is a lot of snow on the ground, but during the collection period most of the snow melts away.
How Does Birch Sap Originate?
During the summer the birch tree combines water and carbon dioxide into sugars with the aid of its leaves and of the sunlight. In the autumn, the tree stores extra reserve nutrition for the waking up of the following spring. In the spring the tree sucks up water and nutrients from the soil with its roots. At the same time, it transforms the stored nutrition back to sugars. When dissolved materials, such as sugars, fruit acids and minerals, cumulate in the sap, the sap starts to flow from the roots towards the top of the tree.
Birch Sap is a Traditional Health Drink
In many countries, like the Nordic countries, Russia, Canada, Japan and Korea, the use of birch sap has long traditions. For example in Korea, birch sap has through the ages been considered the “drink of the gods”. In Canada birch sap has been given in the spring especially to the cattle, in order to make them recover and gain vitality quickly after the long winter. In Finland and in Japan sap has traditionally been considered a health drink, and in Japan birch sap is defined as beneficial to health.
What Does Birch Sap Contain?
The average dry solids content of our sap is approximately 1,5 %. Birch sap comprises all healthy nutrients necessary for the growth of the birch. Birch sap contains fructose, glucose, fruit acids, amino acids, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, zinc, sodium and iron. All substances of the sap have their own important functions also in the human body.
- Fructose and glucose
- Amino acids
- Vitamin C
- Nutritional values of birch sap
Culinary Uses of Birch Sap
Birch sap can be boiled down to make a sweet syrup.
It contains the sugars glucose and fructose, birch sap has only 1% syrup by weight.
It can be made into a delicious taffy like candy that tastes like molasses.
It can be used to make beer, wine or soft drinks.
Use one drop of Birch Essential Oil in a cup of hot water, to make this into a wonderful nourishing tea. Add 4 to 5 drops to a gallon of pure water, or distilled water will make it a delightful cool drink.
Birch Syrup can be used as a flavoring agent and a sweetener. It can also be used in sauces, salad dressings, marinades for meat and fish, candies, ice cream and baked goods.
It can be used wherever a sweetener like brown sugar might be used in cooking and baking. However, since it is mostly fructose sugar, it will not crystallize like regular sugar.