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Old 01-27-2020, 03:17 PM   #1
Edb 46 er
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Birch Tree Syrup

Has anyone ever tried tapping Birch trees? When is the best time to tap?
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:36 PM   #2
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Tap them same as maple...spring time.
Tap the yellow birch for wintergreen flavor. There isn't lots of sap tho compared to the larger maples. Chew the buds and you'll taste it. It is refreshing and makes a nice tea or sweetener.
Hickory is another one that can be tapped-the sap is heavy, dark and thickly flavored like smoky molasses or sorgum. A guy in northern PA. south of me taps birch, hickory and something else maybe oak? I can't remember though I was in his shop before Christmas.
Tulip Poplar syrup is similar to Maple. I like it a lot but it = $$$ I bought a qt. from a guy in Indiana.
The hickory takes some getting use to. I never had oak or whatever the other is.
You can find any of these on the internet. Maple would be the least expensive in comparison.
Cedar, I don't believe its edible, can also be tapped and the greens steamed, for cedar oil which is made for various non-edible uses...tho usually nowadays it is synthetically produced. A friend in Wilmington NY use to steam cedar and sell the oil. I wish I knew who bought the wood fired set up. Might've went over by L. Champlain.
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:19 PM   #3
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As I recall looking into it years ago I believe it runs earlier than Maple(maybe it was after) and the yield is quite a bit faster. The boiling down to make syrup takes about 3x as much as maple. They say it's also very touchy to get it right as it burns quickly if the temps not spot on during the boil. I cut some black birch or river birch years ago and the wintergreen smell was amazing. I cut them in winter, left them laying until spring. The downed tree's sprouted and bloomed leaves and lived awhile completely cut off from the stump. The stumps were covered in bee's in mid summer with the frothing sap. Always wanted to try it, but never got around to it.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:43 PM   #4
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Skilzman is correct. I just googled up 'Boiling Birch Sap' [and you need to do it too EdB]. it scorches quicker than maple sap because of the differences between fructose, glucose and sucrose.
Something like 200 degrees compared to 219.
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:17 PM   #5
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Box elder works too and I've read that it's very good. However, I've never tried it.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:38 PM   #6
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Those little trees can be a son of a birch to tap.
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Old 01-28-2020, 08:37 PM   #7
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Good point Schultzz...And how many trees would you need to get say 100 gallons of sap to make 2 gallons of syrup? LOL.
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:12 PM   #8
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Thanks, everyone for the replies. Nothing like experience. I think it's time to drink a bit of it first, full of nutrients from what I am reading. I also have about 6 lbs of processed Chaga. Maybe another 5 in unprocessed. Looking for buyers.
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:35 PM   #9
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Good point Schultzz...And how many trees would you need to get say 100 gallons of sap to make 2 gallons of syrup? LOL.
You wood need a treemendous amount.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:32 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info. I didn't realize you can tap so many species & boil down the sap. Some of them sound interesting. But wouldn't oak be very acid?
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:09 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info. I didn't realize you can tap so many species & boil down the sap. Some of them sound interesting. But wouldn't oak be very acid?
Seems like it would be similar to the Hickory syrup I mentioned which was certainly palatable just took some getting use to since it was so much stronger than the maple I ate for decades.
Either might be better for baking rather than say pouring on a pancake.
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:14 AM   #12
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Thanks, everyone for the replies. Nothing like experience. I think it's time to drink a bit of it first, full of nutrients from what I am reading. I also have about 6 lbs of processed Chaga. Maybe another 5 in unprocessed. Looking for buyers.
"Processed" how?
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:53 AM   #13
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"Processed" how?
Processed as in, cut into chunks. 1" x 2'' pieces, much easier than whole pieces. I also, have powder form. Have you tried Chaga tea?

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Old 02-02-2020, 05:44 PM   #14
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Birch sap run is usually later than maple. Box Elder is a maple.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:07 PM   #15
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Yes box elder is a maple (Acer negundo). From what I've read, the sap to syrup ratio is higher on BE v. sugar maple. I guess Norway maple will also yield syrup, but like BE, that's something I've never had. Unfortunately, they're everywhere around here (an invasive), but I've never seen them being tapped.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:36 PM   #16
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Yeah, Norway maples can be super invasive in the right conditions- it's a big problem downstate and on Long Island. I believe they are no longer legal to sell at tree nurseries in New York State, even. I guilt-tripped my parents into cutting their Norway maple down.

At one of the environmental education centers I worked at, we tapped a box elder in addition to sugar and red maples. The box elder yielded the most sap by far- but it was also the only tree tapped that grew in the open (greater live crown ratio, possibly also more exposure to warming/cooling cycles that are necessary for the sap to run), the others were all trees in the forest and they had smaller crowns.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:37 PM   #17
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Processed as in, cut into chunks. 1" x 2'' pieces, much easier than whole pieces. I also, have powder form. Have you tried Chaga tea?

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I have not. I have a few chunks I picked up a few years ago and didn't do anything with. Do they go bad? If not, I'd like to powerderize them somehow. Sorry for the thread creep...
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:55 PM   #18
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I have not. I have a few chunks I picked up a few years ago and didn't do anything with. Do they go bad? If not, I'd like to powerderize them somehow. Sorry for the thread creep...
I have powdered a bit, it hasn't gone bad yet, you know, keep things out of light,cool and dry. 1/2 coffee 1/2 Chaga.

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Old 02-11-2020, 09:58 AM   #19
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The major problem with Norway Maples, including red Norways, is that they exude a substance that inhibits growth of other plants under the crown, so no understory develops. All that bare soil is no biggie during leaf out, but once the foliage is gone in the fall, any rain brings with it greater erosion compared to an area with understory. This has been especially bad over the last few years as precipitation amounts have remained essentially the same but the rain comes in less frequent but more intense events. I think Box Elders behave the same way, and also Tree of Heaven, which resembles sumac, but is also non native. Just cutting the trees down is not an immediate solution because it takes time for the inhibitor to dissipate, and there is nothing holding the soil together during that time. I worked with NYSDEC and the local Soil and Water Conservation District a few years ago on tree planting to anticipate ash deaths from the borer, and while we didn't get any Norways from the state nursery, I was surprised to see Silvers, which are also low value trees, but the DEC Forester said they were looking for species that grow fast to try to maintain some canopy. The Norways are so ubiquitous in urban areas and tract developments for the same reason, they were cheap, and they grew fast and provide shade, but watching the planting that has gone on the last few years in Rochester, they are no longer in the mix.
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Old 03-05-2020, 02:18 PM   #20
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Norway Maples

Ahh, thanks for info. I figured my two Norway maples were killing the grass under them. They were planted in front of my house ~30 years ago by the developer. They look real nice and provide lots of shade, but the lawn under them always looks terrible. I've taken to put a large ring of mulch around the base to hide it for now. I'm trying to minimize amount of lawn I have to cut as well, so I don't want to cut them down as they are nice mature trees.
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