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Many of us still remember the time when there were large three-liter bottles with a translucent sweet drink on the shelves in the store, and birch branches were on the label. This health drink has not disappeared from the shelves today, in most cases, it simply “migrated” to paper tetrapacks, but unfortunately, one can argue about the quality of the juice. Unscrupulous manufacturers often add a variety of preservatives and other ingredients that increase shelf life, but do not improve taste. Therefore, if there is an opportunity, lovers of this nectar prefer to harvest it on their own: you can always be sure that the product is 100% natural. Since the collection period is very limited in time, in order to catch and not harm the tree, you need to know when and how to properly collect birch sap.
When can you start collecting juice?
Birch sap is harvested in early spring, and the exact time depends on the place where the trees grow and the climate. In the southern regions this is the beginning or middle of March, and in the northern latitudes it is April. Sap flow is activated in the tree when the snow melts and the positive values prevail on the street. Visually determine the readiness for the birch to release the healing drink can be swollen buds.
It is important to have time to collect the juice before the moment when the buds begin to open and the leaves appear( usually two weeks).
If in doubt, you can check whether the sap flow has begun. To do this, in a tree with a sharp awl, you need to make a small hole. If nothing stands out of it, then you need to wait a little more, smearing the wound with garden pitch. The droplet that appears from the hole indicates the beginning of the juice collection season.
Experienced collectors recommend starting work in the second half of the day and finishing it in the evening - at this time juice extraction is particularly active.
How to assemble?
Stocking up a delicious drink, do not forget about the tree itself. In order not to harm the birch, the following rules should be observed:
- “Grind out” life-giving sap can only be done in mature trees — young birch trees are also needed for growth.
- The minimum size of a birch trunk with which you can take sap should be 20 cm in diameter. Only one hole is allowed on such a tree.
- In more adult and larger birch trees, for every 10 cm diameter of the trunk, you can additionally make another hole, but not get carried away, otherwise the tree will be difficult to heal many wounds.
- It is better to make a hole diagonally with a downward slope, at a level of no more than 50 cm from the ground, using a drill with a drill size up to 10 mm - such wounds heal quickly and almost without a trace. The depth of penetration - from 2 to 3 cm. The bark in the selected place must first be removed.
- Insert the chute into the hole and insert the container under it.
It is better to take a liter of juice from each tree than to drain the whole birch, because in this case there is a risk of the tree dying. At the end of the procedure, the holes should be covered or covered with a wooden peg.