So now you have your Silver Birch Sap you may think what could you possibly do with such a sugar rich liquid. The answer is of course, make wine! Unfortunately we do not have any pictures of the batch we made this year but I can tell you it ended up being an off-white coloured wine and one of our more enjoyable brews. We will definitely be making this one again next spring.
Minimum Equipment Requirement
- 1 Gal Demijohn or Drum/Tub
- 1 Airlock
- 1 Siphon Tube
Ingredients for 1 Gallon Silver Birch Wine
- 1 Gallon Silver Birch Sap Unprocessed (not boiled down or anything).
- 1133g Sugar
- 2 Lemons
- 277g Raisins
- Sterilise your equipment
- Boil the Sap and Lemon together for 20 minutes
- Add the sugar and raisins and stir in while still warm
- Strain the flowers – keep the liquid but not the flowers themselves
- Place into the primary fermentation bucket/Demijohn
- Allow the mixture to cool until it reaches around 21C
- Add yeast and yeast nutrient
- Cover and place airlock
- Keep in a warm dry place
- After 8 weeks, test the mixture with a hydrometer. Add sugar according to taste if it’s ready to bottle.
- Add a crushed Campden tablet to clear according to the tablet instructions and allow to settle
- Rack Off and bottle.
Collecting silver birch sap in the beginning of spring is a great way to get some extra sugar and clean water into your foraging diet. It does require some minor equipment and some thought and care though.
- Knife – sharp!
- 5L Bottle
- Siphon Tube
- Leaf and Twig or similar devices
Cut a “V” shape into a silver birch tree near the base but not at the bottom. If the sap begins to drip out rapidly, you are doing this at the right time.
Insert the leaf into the base of the V shape and attach it in with a small twig. The sap should collect on the leaf and drip down at the point giving you a great way to direct the sap to where you want it. CAUTION: THIS WILL BE TRICKY!
Attach the siphon tube to the tree underneath using non-permanent tape. Ensure the sap drips into the tube. Place the other end of the tube into the 5L bottle and tape securely in place. Use tape or other shade tools if you think it might rain to prevent rain water getting inside.
Wait a couple of days for the bottle to fill up. This sap is clean, refreshing and a great emergency supply. You can also boil it down for syrup or make it into wine (which we will post about later on).
- Do this at the beginning of spring when the sap rises.
- Try to look after the tree – seal the wound afterwards if possible and keep it clean.
- Don’t keep doing this to the same tree, let it recover (some years).
- The sap should be clear, sometimes with a tint. If it is brown it may be that the tree has a fungal infection and should be avoided.
- Always seek permission form the tree owner of course.