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Trees for Sap & Syrup — The Grow Network Community
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Trees for Sap & Syrup

toreytorey Posts: 2,554 admin
edited November 2020 in Wild Edibles & Medicinals

A subject came up in another thread about the use of trees other than maple for sap/syrup production. I made my own birch syrup a few years ago. We have producers of birch sap in my area and they make other things with it as well. Candies, BBQ sauce, etc. Another local company, 52 North, is doing quite well selling a beverage, "Birch Water", made from the sap. Maples are not native in this area. At least not sugar maples. I have also heard of using Broad Leaf maple for syrup although I think the ratio to boil down is much higher than sugar maple. Cottonwood was suggested. Anyone have any thoughts on that? Or any good syrup making instructions or good syrup recipes?


  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,647 admin
    edited March 2020

    I have read about tamarack being used as well. Our two trees are still too young to try it out.

    In Manitoba, we have tapped Manitoba maples, which also go by another name...ah, box elder. The resulting syrup is different, but very good.

    I think that any tree other than sugar maple has a higher water content.

    We like to drink maple tea. We boil it down until it is quite sweet, dip some out and add some tea to it. Lemongrass was not a good addition. Rooibos was excellent.

    Along with this, we have cooked bannock & put a few other goodies in foil and straight into the fire underneath. It makes for a great picnic since you are sitting around the fire anyway! 😋

  • vickeymvickeym Posts: 640 ✭✭✭✭

    We also do the Birch syrup here in Alaska. It is extremely popular. One local company makes several kinds of syrup with it as well as cookies, candies....OH the birch caramels are absolutely divine. I have been wanting to try making it myself, but have not had the time yet during the right time to do so. Just a bit of information on Birch vs Maple syrup...

    • Production: Birch syrup is much more difficult to produce. It takes about 40 liters of maple sap to make a single liter of maple syrup. However, it takes double the amount of birch sap to make the same amount of birch syrup. Clearly, it’s a labor intensive process.

    This site lists 27 trees that can be tapped those there are many varieties of the same species thought there are several others I would never have thought of...

  • MelindaMelinda Greater Atlanta AreaPosts: 124 ✭✭✭

    @vickeym Thank you so much for the link!

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,554 admin

    @vickeym Thanks for posting the link! Would never have thought of syrup from some of them!

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,647 admin
    edited March 2020

    @vickeym Fantastic! I think that we need to experiment on what we can find here and then do taste testing. 😋 I love taste testing.

    I am going to jump onto a soapbox...

    I do take issue with the author's description of box elder being small & scrubby and being "in the north" where land is marginal & prime trees are less available. My guess is that he/she may come from the warm and humid Niagara region and perhaps has never travelled up here to "northern Canada." 🙄 Don't believe everything you read, in other words. Haha, and if you say "northern Canada" here, everyone will think boreal forest into tundra & beyond...think great fishing, polar bears, caribou, beluga whales & ice flows.

    The box elder does extremely well where we are, and is far from small and is not scrubby. It does readily grow here (thus, "Manitoba Maple") and from my understanding, grows stronger here than in humid areas, where it becomes a very brittle wood and branches break easily...and may in fact be scrubby in an imperfect environment for the type (so, not Manitoba). These great trees are usually found around old homesteads as windbreaks. These farms were (and are) often highly productive as cropland, contrary to the author's opinion. Sapping would be done by those who wanted syrup, not because the land was no good for anything else. 🙄 This guy is bold and obviously not careful in his research.

    The flavor is really not much different from sugar maple syrup. It varies only a little. I have no idea what sorghum tastes like, but considering his other opinions about this tree, I would tend to not assume that they are similar. I think he has a little hate talk going on.

    Anyway, I am jumping off of my little irritated soapbox now! 😜

  • KelleyKelley Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Thank you for the link. I have a relative up north that does maple syrup every year and gives us a small bottle for Christmas.

  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey You can also use the bark from Shagbark HIckory to make syrup.

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey and @vickeym does the birch syrup have that wintergreen taste like birch tea does? I've made twig tea and loved it.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,554 admin

    @blevinandwomba No wintergreen taste in my syrup. It is darker and stronger in flavour than maple syrup. I think you can taste the tree more in birch syrup than maple.

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 333 ✭✭✭

    ive seen in one of the magazines i get i think either Grit or mother earth news that you can make syrup out of walnut trees i believe they used black walnut, its said to have a nuty flavor

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,647 admin

    @blevinandwomba Twig tea? How is that made? Is there a proper season to harvest the twigs?

    Fascinating! I love wintergreen flavor.

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 675 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2020

    I just snapped off the little end twigs and stuffed them in a jar, them covered them with water and let sit overnight. I believe I used cold water, but the article below says hot.

    edit: I have done it in fall and winter- I'm not sure how well it works if the trees are not dormant.

  • vickeymvickeym Posts: 640 ✭✭✭✭

    blevinandwomba Have never noticed a wintergreen or any minty type flavor at all. A local company here makes a variety of birch syrups, candies and such. Some syrups are a milder flavor and others are a darker, stronger flavor. Their birch caramels are heavenly. Not sure if I can share their site here, but if you are interested let me know and I can give you the address to see what they have. They carry other Alaskan items besides the birch products, but those are the ones I know best. 💖

  • vickeymvickeym Posts: 640 ✭✭✭✭

    blevinandwomba Also, on the bottom of the birch product page there is a link to information about birch syrup that is quite interesting.

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