Thursday, October 3, 2019

Birch and Walnut? Really?

Trees, Birch, White, Trunk, ForestYesterday, I spoke about getting sap from maple trees to make into syrup for pancakes and other foods.  Today, I'll share which birch and walnut trees can be tapped for sap.  As I said earlier, it is easier to get birch syrup up here than maple.

1.  Butternut or White Birch sap is about 2 percent sugar, about the same as Sugar Maple.  In addition, these birch trees are ready to be tapped about the same time of the year as Sugar Maples and produce about the same amount of sap.

2.  Black Walnut, the same tree whose wood is used in building.  These trees are best tapped in fall, winter, or spring but they are more common in the mid west.

3.  Heartnut has a sweet sap almost the same as Sugar Maples but produces less sap.  It is also a cultivator for the Japanese Maple.

4.  English Walnuts produce the nuts found in the baking section of supermarkets.  These trees also produce a sap especially after being subjected to a freezing winter or spring.  Most English Walnuts are found in California.

5. Paper Birch is the best birch tree to tap. Although its sugar content is about half of a Sugar Maple, it is the sweetest of all birches.

6. The Yellow Birch produces a sap that has a higher mineral content, more antioxidants, and a lower sugar content than the Sugar Maple.

7. Black Birch can be tapped for sap but it is more often used to produce birch beer.  It is more often found in the eastern part of the United States.

8. River Birch is planted more often as an ornamental in the northeast but if found naturally in the southeastern part of the United States.  This tree can be successfully tapped.

9. Grey Birch is usually grown as a shrub but it can be tapped if it grows large enough.

10. The European White Birch is planted in the United States as an ornamental but is a native of Europe.  This tree can be tapped.

11. The Ironwood is a birch tree that does produce sap in late spring but it produces less sugar and less sap than any other type of birch.

To tap them, you need to drill a hole in a tree that is at least 14 inches in diameter, put in a spout, hang a bucket and let the sap drip into the bucket.  Be sure to collect the sap everyday and when you have a decent amount, boil it down to a syrup. The bottom line is that it takes about 40 gallons of sap to boil down to produce one gallon of maple syrup.  It is suggested you boil the sap outside because things can get sticky.

So if you have access to any of these trees, go ahead and collect the sap, and boil it down. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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