Spring time in Alaska is a very special season. After a long, cold and dark winter, the sun starts rising earlier and setting later every day. The warmth, melting snow and the sound of birds remind us that we have survived another winter season and that the upcoming spring is just around the corner. A season full of life and adventure.
One of those adventures in early spring is tapping Birch trees. While we are by no means experts on the subject of tapping Birch trees, we most definitely enjoy the family time and memories it offers.
Best time to tap Birch Trees:
This year we tapped the trees beginning April. It is the perfect time of that year as the temperatures are still below freezing during the night. The trick is to catch the Birch Sap as it travels up the tree to bring the nutrients to the soon blooming leaves. Once the leaves start blooming, the tapping season is over.
How to tap Birch Trees:
Choosing healthy Birch trees is key to harvesting high quality sap. We used a drill, with a 3/8 inch drill bit, drilling an 1.5 inch hole at a slight angle into the tree. We then hammered the 1/2 inch taps into the hole and within seconds the Birch sap started flowing (well, everyone but my tree, which happened to be dead;).
We attached half gallon water jugs to the taps and secured them with a strap to help reduce some of the weight as the jugs fill. It is important to check the trees every day and harvest the sap as it is fresh to further process it. This year we made Birch syrup and also froze some of it for Lily as she struggles greatly with allergies. Birch Sap is many important health benefits.
The University of Alaska Cooperative Extension website is an incredible resource for harvesting and processing any Alaskan food.
To watch our Birch Tapping How to Video and how we processed it, please click on the video below or visit our Alaska Haven Youtube Channel. Don’t forget to subscribe! Thank you for being part our our life as we experience Alaska.