Bottled birch sap
Drinking birch sap is a 3,000-year-old tradition, and it continues today, Michel Maren from Belgian drinks brand Daily Siurpi told FoodNavigator at SIAL.
Birch sap, otherwise known as birch water, has indeed been consumed for centuries across Northern Europe, North America, and China. To extract the sap, a hole is drilled into the side of the tree. If done at the right time of the year – over a three-week period in the spring, usually starting around 20-22 March, Maren explained – the pressure is so great the sap flows out ‘like a tap’.
Production requires a cold winter, with snow cover. Belgium, Maren told us, can be a good place to harvest. Once sap has been harvested from a tree, that tree is ‘rested’: “You don’t ‘tap’ the same tree – you go back to it in three years’ time to balance out the forest.”
Birch sap is a ‘living liquid’ and Daily Sirupi is bottling it for commercialisation. The company is selling it in its natural format, as well as in mint, lemon, or pomegranate varieties.
“If you drink birch sap for 8-10 days in a row, you get the best benefits,” said Maren, describing the drink has having ‘detoxifying’ properties, as well as helping to encourage better sleep and muscle rejuvenation.
Birch sap, which contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, zinc, phosphorous, sodium, iron, manganese, amino acids, salicylates, saponins, and electrolytes, is also thought to stimulate the metabolism.