By Leon Lorenz
Each spring for about 10 years now my family and I enjoy drinking birch sap that we tap from our trees. I make my own spouts out of 5/8″ pieces of dowel that’s cut to about 3 inches in length and tapered on one end to fit into a 1/2″ hole that’s bored into the tree. I cut a notch for the pail handle and drill a 1/8″ hole through the center of the spout, the rest is now up to the tree. A good idea is to add a cheese cloth cover to ward off moths and flies that will be attracted to the slightly sweet water.
Birch water offers numerous nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals. With a little research I found that one 10.2 ounce (300ml) bottle contains 9 calories, 2 carbs, 3 grams of sugar, 2% Daily Value (DV) of calcium, 95% DV of magnesium, 130% manganese and 3% DV of zinc. I haven’t boiled the birch sap down to syrup, though if one did it would take 80 gallons to get one gallon of syrup. Birch sap has only half the sugar content of sugar maple sap. We also freeze it in plastic juice containers for mixing with frozen orange juice to be enjoyed throughout the summer. Once the short sap flowing season is over I remove the spout and tap a 1/2″ diameter dowel into the hole to permanently seal it up.