Birch Sap – What is it, who’s it good for, and why?
Birch sap has become increasingly popular both in Finland and abroad as the overall interest in organic and nature-friendly products has grown. Do you know anything about birch sap or how it is harvested? Can you guess how many litres of sap one birch tree produces or what it might taste like as a drink? Read our blog for answers to these frequently asked questions and more!
What are the constituents of birch sap?
The composition of birch sap has been studied for a long time and is quite well known. Birch sap is 99% water, and the remaining 1% consists of sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose), organic acids (malic, phosphoric, succinic, citric, fumaric, and glycolic acids), free amino acids (glutamine, asparagine, calendicin, and citrulline), minerals (potassium, calcium and magnesium, manganese), small amounts of protein, and vitamin C.
Source: Puoskari, V. (2016) Birch as a Food – Analysing Birch Bud Extract, pp. 19-22. Master’s thesis, University of Turku.
What does birch sap taste like as a drink?
Birch sap is very slightly acidic, with a pH of between 5.5 and 7.5. Birch sap has a pleasantly mild taste, which has a subtle, natural sweetness.
Try it for yourself and the taste will speak for itself!
What is birch sap good for?
Birch sap is a drink that enhances well-being in many of life’s situations. Due to its ingredients, birch sap has been used to relieve rheumatic pains in the joints, raise the basal metabolic rate, help prevent and rectify metabolic disorders, and it also helps ward off cardiovascular disease – especially in the context of sport. The ingredients in birch sap will not only optimise the ways you physically function, but also improve your overall quality of life.
How is birch sap used?
It can be drunk, or applied topically – for instance when washing your face. Both the cosmetics and beverage industries have become aware of consumers’ increasing concerns about health and natural well-being. Consequently there are now a wide variety of birch juice drinks and cosmetics on the market – ranging from creams to soaps and lotions.
How is birch sap made?
Birch sap is a unique solution of nutrients produced by each birch tree in a yearly cycle. In the summer, it uses the sun’s energy to turn carbon dioxide into fructose, glucose, and oxygen. In the autumn it starts storing these sugars in its roots before dropping its leaves, and preparing for its wintertime rest. In the spring, as the air warms and ground starts to melt, the birch stirs and starts to draw water again from the ground. It mixes the water with the sugars stored in its roots and starts to push this vital fluid up towards its soon-to-be budding branches.
The sap rises until the first buds appear, then as these ‘mouse ears’ open (as we call them in Finland), the tree begins once more to harvest the warm summer sunlight streaming through its new green canopy.
How is birch sap collected?
Birch sap is collected in a period lasting 3 to 5 weeks over April and May, when the sap is rising and just before the first buds appear. Traditionally, a small hole (approx. 1 cm in diameter) would be drilled in the trunk, and a grommet inserted, to which a clean plastic tube would then be connected, so the sap would run down it into a container.
On an industrial scale, the sap is automatically collected from all the trees into a tank, which is then transported without delay to the factory for packaging.
How much sap does one birch produce?
A large birch will produce dozens of litres of sap a day, although there are many factors which can affect the flow of sap, so this varies greatly from year to year. In general, the sap will flow at a higher rate in birches that grow in moister habitats. Healthy and well-cared for birches can thus produce between 50 and 300 litres of sap per day*!
*Kallio, H. & Kallio, S. (1987) Birch Sap, Basics of a Finnish innovation, 35. Advisers Uotinen, Tampere.
Birch sap is nature’s own wellness drink!
The clean soil of Finland ensures that birch trees produce millions of litres of nature’s own wellness drink every year. Birch sap not only tastes delicious, but is a natural way to improve our physical well-being. Nordic Koivu’s unique and carefully designed methods of collecting, producing, and packaging ensures that every drop of birch sap can be delivered directly from the forest to the daily consumer who values their well-being.
Check out Nordic Koivu’s birch sap drinks on our website!