One of the trees we are planting is the Silver Birch (Betula pendula). Now if you had been reading this blog you would know that most plants here do have a reason for being planted. Well The silver birch is an amazing tree. It produces a sap which, like Maple Trees can be boiled down to produce a syrup (not as good as maple but a sweet syrup). You can produce a Silver Birch wine or beer and there is a ton of other things you can do with it. Anyway in a few years (I am hoping approx 5) I can start tapping them in spring.
I have 4 of them so far and I expect to buy another two. I think I should get a decent quantity of sap out of them and I will tap 3 per year. Wikipedia states “A small birch (trunk diameter about 15 cm) can produce up to 5 liters of sap per day, a larger tree (diameter 30 cm) up to 15 liters per day.”
As stated above you can either use the sap to make a dry white wine or a beer, in fact Queen Victoria’s Prince Albert made it his favourite drink when in residence at Balmoral.
And an old English recipe states “To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr’d together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm’d. When it is sufficiently boil’d, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work…and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up.
Anyway some other uses are
- Inner bark – cooked or dried and ground into a meal
- A tea is made from the leaves
- The bark is diuretic and laxative
And a bunch more.