Weekly letter – The maples shut down, so let’s make birch syrup

Hi friends!  What a wild sugaring season we’ve had!  So many times we thought the trees would be running and they didn’t.  Or they ran and ran and ran for a few days and we were practically swimming in unexpected sap.  Such is the way of spring and its transition.

We thought this past weekend would be the one where we’d boil and boil, but the weather went from unseasonable days with nights too warm for the sap to run straight into days too cold for the sap to run! We haven’t had enough sap to boil for over a week now.

But we have been collecting birch sap in our refrigerator from a single birch tree we tapped.  Four gallons total from that tree this season.  So when you don’t have maple sap, might as well experiment with birch!

tapped birch tree to make birch syrup

We boiled all 4 gallons down in the kitchen for a moist day.  The final volume was so little that we broke out our backpacking gear and used a tiny camp pot.  Those 4 gallons reduce down to just a hair over 4 ounces. A whopping half cup!

homemade birch syrup

4 gallons of maple sap would have given us about 2 cups of syrup, so that’s 3-4 times as much evaporating for birch syrup compared to maple!  No wonder you don’t see this stuff around New England!

The color was strange compared to the familiar maple syrup hue.  To us, birch syrup seems to have a strange alien flavor to it, an aroma that is familiar and yet otherworldly.

birch syrup on a spoon

Anywho, it looks like the weather is turning back towards more normal temperatures and plenty of rain this week, so we welcome you, April!  Our seedlings are rising and our chicks are ordered for our meat flocks.  We’re ready for the season to come!

Amy & Brian