Monday, March 22, 2010

Birch Syrup--Edible #5--A history


The first time we encountered birch syrup was on our honeymoon in Alaska. Being from New England we didn't realize you could tap trees other than maples, but sure enough most, if not all, birches produce sweet and tasty syrup. However, we were shocked by the sticker price. The lovely, dark liquid cost 2 to 3 times that of maple syrup. Then we discovered that while it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup, it takes 60 to 100 gallons of birch sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup.
Birch syruping is a much smaller business than its maple counterpart. Most of the industry is in Alaska and Russia with a few smaller operations in Canada. In addition to the scale and price increase, the season is also prohibitive. The birch season lasts about a week--often around the last week of the maple season. However, during this short period, each birch tree will produce gallons of sap a day. And while only sugar maples produce really tasty syrup, most species of birch can be tapped for a similarly sweet syrup.

No comments:

Post a Comment