Anybody tap Birch or Spruce?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    I"ve heard that tapping spruce or birch for the sap to make into syrup?

    Has anyone here have experience doing this? Did you make it good ?
     
  2. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    I would like to know about this too: isn't the sap bitter, then what, add sugar?

    Alex
     

  3. ak homesteader

    ak homesteader Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Alaska
    Tapping Birch in Alaska is pretty common. I've not done it but there several business that make Birch products. I'll see if I can find any sites I'll post them later if I find them.

    Alaska HOMESTEADING Journal
     
  4. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    I've tapped Birch. It takes a lotalota sap to make syrup, about 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup.

    My method is for certain homemade. I use a brace and bit to make my holes and use 6" sections of cheapo garden hose for taps and gallon plastic milk jugs for buckets, tied around the trunk of the tree with plastic bale twine.

    The hard part comes in trying to reduce the sap. I usually do it in the house on the woodstove, but it gets to looking like a sauna in here. Remember that to make that gallon of syrup, 39 gallons of water is evaporated into the air!

    If you are interested, check the archives for Birch syrup and you'll probably find my tale of trying to make it commercially here in Idaho and thinking I'd poisoned myself.
     
  5. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks for that info bare. What's your favorite way to eat the final product?
    What I'm trying to get also is from people giving their opinion on the taste. Is it good? Do you use it like maple syrup once it's boiled down.
     
  6. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Well on pancakes of course! We've used it whereever we would have used Maple syrup, on French toast, making sausage, various recipes calling for maple syrup. If it's not well hidden the kids'll swipe it to make birch candy in the winter. Just warm it up and find a patch of clean, un-yellow snow and pour it on, let it set a minute or two and pick it up.

    It is a bit thinner than store-bought maple syrup, lighter in color and not quite as sweet.

    It's hard to describe Birch syrup's taste, since it's all it's own but it is good and worth the effort.

    If you want a refreshing draught, just refrigerate your sap and drink it like water. Slightly sweet and very refreshing. Sap doesn't keep very long, no more than a few days before going bad.
     
  7. billyj

    billyj Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    222
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Central Louisiana
  8. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,665
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Birch, yes. But I *don't* think you want to tap spruce trees! All you will get is pitch!

    Kathleen
     
  9. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    My SIL made Spruce beer once. You harvest the new growth tips of the boughs. I don't know exactly how she made it but it was surprisingly good! You do boil the tips to extract the flavour and the alcohol comes from a comercial sugar. I think if she'd used the same dextrose powder I use for kit beers it would have been even better, as it was a tad sweet from the granular white sugar she used.