Tapping a Birch Tree
Did you know that you can tap a birch tree for birch water in a similar way as you would tap a maple tree? Birch water is a clear liquid that flows from birch trees in the spring before the leaves bud. When the nights and days are both above freezing, in late February or March, is the time to tap a birch for its nourishing liquid.
Birch water or sap is clear and tastes like a sweetened water. It has a light crisp cooling taste. I love the taste and am so thankful for this beautiful liquid!
I really love the idea of drinking water from a tree! I think its so very beautiful, special, and a gift! I felt like a little girl on Christmas day this morning when the first drops of sap came out of the opening...and the taste...its so lovely! Sweet, refreshing, and delicious!
So why is drinking birch sap so important and what makes it so rich in nutrients? Let's see how nature creates tree sap through the different seasons...the birch trees soak up nutrients from the sun and soil in the summer to prepare themselves for hibernation in the fall.
During this time, they store all the nutrients in the form of sap in
their roots. The birch trees retains this sap throughout the cold winter and then spring comes again, and the beginning of birch tree tapping season begins. For our area, which is PA, the time is usually the beginning of March. Today, we tapped our birch tree, and it is March 11th.
In many countries, such as, Scandinavia, Russia, and Sweden, birch sap has been drunk for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes, nutritional support, anti inflammatory benefits, and it's cleansing and detoxifying properties as well.
In Sweden, they would say about birch sap, "Dricka marg i benen" which means "drink marrow into the bones." Drinking birch sap was a way of regaining energy after a long winter.
This healing liquid can also help to promote healthy, bright, clear skin because of its nourishing and cleansing affects on the liver. A 2012 study published in the Polish Botanical Society showed that after reviewing the use of tree saps throughout Europe, that birch tree sap in particular was considered an excellent aid in supplementary nutrition because of its sugars, minerals, and vitamins supporting the liver.
Birch sap is loaded with a number of amino acids, minerals, enzymes, proteins, antioxidants, and vitamins. Birch sap can assist those with arthritis and osteoarthritis because of its anti-inflammatory properties and is a beautiful gift from our amazing Creator, God!
Make sure your birch tree is at least 8-12 inches in diameter before tapping. Smaller than this, is not recommended because it could hurt the tree. Also, do not tap your tree if you chemically treat it in any way. Only tap trees that are healthy and are large enough to tap.
The sap should flow for several weeks after tapping. You will need to keep watch over your container as to make sure it doesn't overflow. Our glass gallon jar is filling up completely within 8 hours. You don't want to waste any of this healing liquid so check your jar, empty as needed, and enjoy!
When the tree is done being tapped, you will need to fill the hole in the tree so it doesn't continue to leak, which could hurt the tree or cause an infection in the tree. You can carve a small piece of wood or stick (a little bit bigger than the hole) that will fit in the hole, hammer it in and it will patch the opening.
Birch sap will last in the refrigerator for about 3 days or you can freeze it too if you have excess and want to preserve it.
Here is a link to the tapping kit we are using. You will need a container to catch the sap. We are using a gallon glass jar and you can drill a hole in the lid to fit the opening of the hose.
So, if you have a birch tree, have fun tapping and drinking your nourishing birch sap!