Do you have a birch tree growing in your yard or neighborhood? Have you heard of birch tree water or sap and its health benefits? It's fairly new in the states. Birch water has been consumed for centuries in Europe and China because of its health benefits. Growing up with an Eastern European background we would drink this every year and my mom would even can it as juice to enjoy in the summer months as a refreshing drink. In the days of the Soviet Union my parents grew up in a small village so there were no juices or sweet drinks, so birch water was a treat that was also beneficial for their health.
What does Birch tree water taste like?
Birch tree water is lightly sweetened water that is so refreshing to drink. You can enjoy it fresh with a splash of lemon juice or on its own or make a delicious fermented drink called birch kvass.
What health benefits or nutrition are found in birch water?
Birch water offers many minerals and antioxidants as well as it’s specifically rich in magnesium and manganese. Manganese is a form of antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative damage and reduces your risk of chronic diseases. The list of potential benefits starts from skin health, strengthening hair, has vitamin c, helping manage blood sugar, preventing epileptic seizures and the list goes on. What I take from this is that birch water tastes delicious and may have many benefits to my health.
When to tap Birch water?
In early spring after freezing temperatures have passed but before the first leaves appear on the tree. Once the leaves appear, the water is no longer sweet and the season is over. The season for harvesting is very short in Washington state it usually starts sometime in March through April and then the tree starts blooming.
Choosing a tree to tap
The tree needs to be at least 8” in diameter or larger. Make sure the tree looks healthy and hasn't been exposed to pesticides. If you tap in and get brown wood not white try a different spot or tree. It could be a dead part of the tree or an old tree. Tap on the side that is exposed to the sun for best results.
How to tap birch water:
What you will need:
First off using a portable drill, drill a hole about 1.5 inches deep.
Then either use a tree tap or a straw that will fit in your hole and cut it at an angle *see photograph.
Lastly, hang or set your jar so the birch water will drip into your jar or bucket.
The birch water will drip at different speeds depending on your tree and the temperature outside. Make sure to check on it at least twice a day until you figure out how long it takes for your jar or bucket to fill up.
Enjoy a delicious healthy drink filled with nutrients fresh from the source!
Sources for my research: