Did you know you can collect sap from birches the same way sap is collected from maples?
Our dear daughter has tapped birch trees and collected the sap several times in the past. Although it's possible to boil the sap down and make syrup from it in the same way you do with maple sap, she uses it as "birch water."
A partial half gallon jug of birch water recently given to us by our daughter.
This crystal clear liquid has been harvested for centuries by indigenous people in many parts of the world and consumed for its detoxifying, diuretic, cleansing and purifying properties. Birch water, or sap, contains 17 amino acids as well as minerals, enzymes, proteins, natural sugar and Vitamin B and C while also giving us a good dose of antioxidants which we all need these days.
How does birch water taste? Very pleasant. (Not at all similar to the taste you might imagine if you chewed on a piece of birch bark!) It's much like a pure, clean water but with a very, very light sweet taste and possibly slightly thicker than water, but not much. I like to put it in a glass with an ice cube and sip it as I'm working in the kitchen.
Now here's something I found very interesting yesterday afternoon.
We have a large twin birch tree right outside our living room window.
Our temp was hovering in the high 30s and as I glanced out the window I saw a clump of what I first thought to be icicles on the side of one of the trunks.
Then I noticed there were chunks of "ice" on the ground that had obviously fallen from the clump.
Here's a closer look at the clump on the tree.
Next I noticed a large hole (brown rimmed) up higher on the tree and looking carefully, I could see drips coming down the tree and collecting on the rough part of bark on the trunk . . . right where the clump of what I had thought to be ice had formed.
It was birch sap dripping from the hole (a natural tap) a bird, most likely woodpecker, had made in the tree!
Papa Pea said the woodpecker's hole was probably indicative of insects under the bark of the trunk which is what attracted the bird. I really hope that either the woodpecker, or the possibility of insects infecting the tree, haven't done it too much damage. I'd hate to lose that big, beautiful birch water producing tree.