Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Birch Syrup

Birch Syrup
Tapping Birch Trees

A few years ago we started doing something that caused quite a few “raised eye brows” around here- we tapped birch trees.

Birch sap starts to run about the time maple stops, and more sap is required to make syrup, about 60 gallons of sap to equal one gallon of syrup.

The trees are tapped the same way as maple, and the sap is cooked down in the same manner, simply boil until desired consistency is reached.

So far all we use the finished product for is making beer and, when cooked down a bit thicker, a replacement for molasses.

We have been successful in using the “birch molasses” in baked beans, breads and cookies; the taste is wonderful and it's one less thing on our grocery shopping list.

Future plans include birch soda and birch wine.

15 comments:

  1. Wow: 60 to 1 gallon???? That sounds like an awful lot of effort for not a lot of return. How long does this take you? and what kind of birch trees?

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  2. Very interesting! Those who drink soda in my family (not me) enjoy the birch beer flavor. I'm sure it's related. I did my first maple syrup this year, and ended up with five pints from two trees (four taps). Looking forward to tapping more trees next year; enjoyed the process tremendously!

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  3. Greetings from Moose Meadows Farm (www.moosemeadowsfarm.ca) in the North Cariboo of British Columbia. We tap birch trees & have been producing birch syrup (pure & blended) since 2006. In Canada, there are 12 known commercial birch syrup producers with interest growing annually. We are relatively small producers - this year we hope to tap 250 trees. We sell all our product at the farm gate, farmers markets, & through the internet. We sold a 1 litre bottle of our PURE Boreal Amber birch syrup last week for $88.00 CDN. The ratio of birch sap to syrup ranges from 100-120:1. We would LOVE to share some samples if you are interested!

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  4. We have begun a FACEBOOK site titled "CANADIAN BIRCH SYRUP PRODUCERS". It is a networking site if you are so interested. Cheers from Canada!

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  5. My eyebrows are now stuck in the raised position. I had no idea you could tap birch trees--and I have dozens on the property! I always thought that 'birch beer' was called that because it was kegged in birch barrels. I am going to rethink my tapping routines and purchase more buckets!

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  6. Thank you all for your comments!

    Miranda, we tap white birch trees. It is a long time boiling down, I can not really say just how long because I am always adding more sap, but we do it on the wood stove (which is going anyway) so it doesn't seem like much work.

    Caroline, Sounds as though you did great for your first year with just a few trees. You can't beat the taste of something you made yourself!

    Moose Meadow Farms, I will check out your Facebook page, thanks!

    Lord W, If you start tapping the birch you will get a lot of unusual comments from people. A few years ago we had an elderly couple driving up our road real slow. My husband happened to be out by the road and they stopped. He asked if he could help them. The guy said "yeah, someone told me some idiot out here was tapping birch trees. Couldn't believe it...had to see for myself" My husband said "well, you found him!" and he went on to explain about tapping birch trees. We still laugh about it.

    By the way...made baked beans with the syrup yesterday. They came out great! (birch syrup and some honey)

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  7. Most of my neighbours already think I'm a wee bit odd anyway so it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise when they see my buckets attached to the birches. I've brought the accumulation of all my worldly travels back to Maine with me and the good folks have been very 'understanding' of my oddities.

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  8. Mainers do seem to be quite an understanding bunch!

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  9. Very true. Mainers are generous, accepting people. I've been told by family friends that whenever my name comes up among strangers the conversation goes something like..."Well, after all, he grew up and was educated over there in Europe and spent an awful lot of time in foreign parts living amongst those people and eating their food.....Only stands to reason it's going to affect your brain". Nothing ugly is meant--it's simply an explanation.

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  10. My husband is from Ohio and he made Maple Syrup on a 5th Generation Farm in Kinsman, Ohio. Syrup making is a life long hobby of his and now he has a Birch Syrup business here in Wasilla, Alaska. We are called Alaska Birch Syrup Company. We have a light and medium grade syrup. Light is from the first run of harvest. The flavor changes drastically from first run to last. We have a few thousand taps out now. The sap is just starting to run. Good luck to you and may your syrup season be long.
    Kim (www.alaskasyrup.com)

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  11. Hi Kim, It is great to hear about your syrup business. I will check out your web page. A few thousand taps....wow! Sounds wonderful!
    ~ Nancy

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  12. The Northern Bands of Native Americans have always known about Tapping Birch.In fact I blogged a little about it today just before I came here.http://wildedibleandmedicinalplants.blogspot.com/
    Innovative and wonderful!

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  13. Thanks for the link, DancingFire....very interesting : )

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  14. Big money apparently, and hard to find still in NE, mostly Alaska and Canada websites. Jump in there and make a fortune before someone beats you to it (like us!) ;)

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  15. We are still a long way off from even thinking about commercial, but maybe we should start thinking a bit more seriously!

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