> hey what's for dinner mom?: How I'm Making Birch Syrup

4.20.2012

How I'm Making Birch Syrup

This year I'm cooking down my birch sap in the crock pot, next year may be a different game, we'll see. I started off all right, I had the Le Creuset bubbling and boiling away. I've been reading up on boiling down syrup for a while now in preparation for this week or two. The one thing I read over and over was be careful birch sap will scorch so I was super paranoid about leaving it to cook. I don't have time to hover over a pot of clear liquid making sure I don't burn it to death.


Spring is busy. I have bee hives to seal, baby chicks to care for, 8 bajillion seedlings looking for a reason to die, tomatoes needing a transplant, kids wet, muddy and cold, a dog who wants to go for a walk, a coop that needs mucking out, cats trying to eat the robin, plus every normal chore to keep this place running. Standing over a stove in a state of constant paranoia does not work for me.

Here's what I'm doing, I don't know how it will work for you, it's working for us, that's all I can say.


  1. we collected sap for a day and had about a gallon--make sure your collection jars is very clean and rinsed out too--no soap residue in the syrup please!
  2. I strained it through a sieve and then my jelly bag
  3. I set it to boiling in the Le Creuset, any heavy pot will do
  4. plug in the crock pot and heat it up while waiting for the syrup to boil--don't leave your crock pot to heat empty for too long, it might crack
  5. once it boiled for about 5 minutes I transferred it to the heated crock pot
  6. popped the lid on it and brought it to it's heights heat
  7. once it was thoroughly heated I turned the lid sideways to vent the steam out
  8. I left it cook about 12-15 hours checking occasionally to make sure it wasn't thick yet
  9. once it turned thick and a light amber I turned off the pot and poured the syrup, about a 1/2 cup into a half pint jar and popped it in the fridge
  10. some articles I read suggested yet another strain at this point, I didn't the first time I made this but I think in the future I might--although I could lose a significant amount of syrup and there isn't much to lose 
  11. I washed the crock pot, boiled more sap and started all over
Our Birch Syrup



I'm still researching long term storage. Some sites have suggested a boiling water bath in small jars for long term storability. I think with the initial boiling of the sap and then boiled in sterilized jars any fears of contamination would be mitigated for me. How about you? I'm not sure if ours will last that long. I'd love to have a gallon to put away for winter use. Along with our honey we could conceivably be off store bought sweeteners this fall. I like that!



I know this is not a conventional way to handle sap. I understand if you are skeptical, I myself am skeptical. But I also understand that I don't have time to hover, I don't have money to spend on a huge evaporator and I needed to do something with the sap. This is my answer and I'm sharing with others who may have small amounts of sap to deal with. I'd be delighted to hear from others who have fund ways to boil down sap in small amounts without driving themselves crazy.

To see out tapping procedure and more pictures of our farm in Alaska check out my post "I'd Tap That".


Peace and Love--


 

8 comments :

  1. You continue to rock my world. I have no idea what birch sap tastes like but now I am so curious! Also, that picture is sexay! You are just so amazing!!!

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  2. Could you freeze the raw sap in gallon jugs and then process as needed? I realize that would take up space in the freezer, but it would be a safe way to store it.

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  3. I'm the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It's sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I'd love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

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  4. Sean will do!! Susie, I could store it frozen, or I could try! Good suggestion :)
    Luna--love you too!! <3

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  5. I have no advice to offer - I've never heard of this before but I'm absolutely fascinated (and enthralled by your resourcefulness)!! I'm totally allergic to birch pollen but wonder if something like this might not work similarly to immunotherapy shots... off to research this!!

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  6. What an amazing project! My FIL sent us some birch syrup when he moved to Alaska--but we've never been able to take part in making the real thing. So exciting!

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  7. Hi!

    The crock pot one is a great idea, I'm trying it out as we speak!

    I just wanted to say hi and thanks and let you know I linked to your post....

    www.bunchberryfarm.blogspot.com

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  8. We went all out making birch syrup this year. Built a concrete block and buffet pan evaporator outside. Tapped over 30 trees, and in 2.5 weeks time, we now have 6 gallons of finished syrup. Some trees gave 5-6 gallons of sap per 24 hour period, and others gave as little as a 2 gallons.
    The fact that it takes 100 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup, means that you have to do this on a big scale, using wood, to keep your costs very low.

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