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Category Archives: Beverages

Tasty, not too sweet, and probiotic goodness.

It was a short week, 6 days ago, that I tapped our Birch tree. I probably could have tapped it a few days earlier if not for just being too busy. But better some sap than none!

With the speed of the melting snow the Birch sap has slowed it’s flow.

Checking my Sap Bucket.

Our first gallon I poured into individual collapsible water bottles for drinking later. I found these new at the thrift store, a great find! They came with mini carabineers to clip onto your pack or belt while hiking this summer. Into the freezers they went.

Hiking refreshers.

Next, I used 3.5 gallons to try our version of Birch Beer, similar to root beer, and made about 3/4 of a gallon of flavored concentrate. I slow-simmered the sap in my turkey roaster until about half with a few Birch twigs. Once done I turned off the heat, added a vanilla bean and cinnamon stick and 1/2 cup xylitol to sweeten it a bit more. To serve, pour concentrate into a glass, half full, add a squeeze of fresh lime, a little more sweetener (to individual taste) and top off with seltzer. It’s got an earthy taste, faintly reminiscent of a root beer but not as herbal. I like mine less sweet, the kids like it more sweet. But they like it, that’s good.

It’s nice to have a natural soda alternative that’s not 44 grams of sugar per serving or full of who knows what.

I also put about half a gallon into some reusable popsicles for a cold summer treat. I made 20 of these, Alaskan style Otter Pops, all natural, no artificial dyes, flavors or sweeteners.

Birch pops.

I did learn that we have another native tree here that can also be tapped: Alder. I experimented and tapped a couple larger trunks (they aren’t very big here, 3-5 inches in diameter). I wasn’t set-up properly for collecting the sap so missed a lot. I did get enough to taste it. It’s similar to the Birch water, less flavor tho. Overall good to know in an emergency but not likely to try it annually.

What remains of our harvest is apx 3.5 gallons, which I’ll turn into ice cubes and jugs of sap to freeze and use later. I’m going to try brining my salmon in Birch sap and salt this summer.

Overall we harvested about 9 gallons from a single Birch tree in 6 days, 1.5 gallons a day on average. This is important to know if we want to harvest enough for a larger batch of syrup or beverages. Since Birch water doesn’t keep for more than a couple days without spoiling, it has to be used or frozen quickly. So if we needed 5 gallons to process into wine we would need to tap 4-5 trees for a larger daily quantity.

I pulled the spile early Saturday morning. And another foraging season has come & gone.

Next up for wildcrafting is cottonwood buds, fiddleheads, fireweed shoots, spruce tips and morels. Oh boy, I can’t wait!! So much to do, so little time!

Tasty, not too sweet
Live Seltzer Grapefruit Clarity Zero carbs, refreshing and delicious.
Add to a cup of strong black coffee, one heaping TBSP of drinking chocolate, 2-3 drops of peppermint extract, a TBSP of heavy cream. Stir well. Top with whip. Enjoy!
Homemade blended spiced chai with maple flavored whipped cream.
50 Fathoms Gin & Tonic, Alaskan Made!
Read the book, gotta try the restaurant.
Sunrise over the Kasilof