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Tapping The Birch

I finally can start posting some new subjects, now that the snow is gone and spring is here.

First on my list is tapping the sap from Birch Trees. I have been testing my birch trees for the last 3 weeks of March and no sign that the birch is producing sap. After having 5 days of rain and being the 1st of April, the birch trees are producing the clear watery sap that I have been waiting so long to collect.

Like sugar maples, the sap that travels up through birch trees in early spring is sweet and tasty. The predominant, naturally occurring sugar in birch syrup is fructose, as opposed to maple which contains primarily sucrose. Fructose, due to its chemical structure, is more easily digested and assimilated by the human body. Fructose has the lowest glycemic index of all sugars and can therefore be the most suitable sugar for use. Birch syrup is high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, manganese, thiamine, and calcium. Native American Indians have long known of its medicinal benefits and have used it for centuries. The sap can be reduced down to a syrup; like maple syrup, brewed in to beer & wine or you can drink it straight from the tree.

The birch tree will produce this sap for approx. 4 weeks or until the leafs are in full bloom, this time period will shorten if the temps rise really quickly and stay stable during the spring which will lead to early sprouting of its leaves.

The tapping of birch trees and production of this syrup is growing in Alaska, birch tapping is not so common elsewhere. Perhaps it is because more than 100 gallons of birch sap are needed to make a single gallon of birch syrup; where as it only takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make a single gallon.

I will post some pictures in the next couple of days with a tutorial on how to tap birch trees.

Thanks for reading

Bushman Joe


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