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The Mystery of Birch Sap, an Ancient Russian Drink
April 19, 2019 16:55


The birch tree has always enjoyed a special honor in Russia. A national Russian symbol of well-being, it was a patroness in every home garden. The birch tree was traditionally planted at the entrance gate, so that any troubles would shun the home yard. As for birch sap, it was favoured as the source of vitality and a national Russian drink. Now is just the right time for collecting it.
Sometimes called “the Juice of Strongmen” in the annals, birch sap was most popular in this country from times immemorial. Healers widely used this wonderful drink. It removes fatigue and replenishes the vitality.
The Health Benefits of Birch Sap
Birch sap contains a huge amount of vitamins, minerals, organic acids and polysaccharides. It harbours biological stimulants and enzymes that have the most beneficial impact on the human immunity. There are many tannins in it that provide anti-inflammatory effects, as well as magnesium, calcium and potassium, which are necessary for good cardiac activity. Thanks to these facts, the benefits of birch sap have become indisputable. Ideal during the period of spring avitaminosis, this refreshing and absolutely natural drink is enjoyed by children and adults alike, and is recommended to all people for general health improvement.

BIRCH KVASS
Birch sap is best when you can drink it fresh. However, there is a possibility to make birch kvass from it. The easiest recipe is as follows: take fresh birch sap, pour it into a 1.5-liter plastic bottle, add 5-10 raisins into it, close it tightly and keep it in the cellar until summer.
BIRCH WINE
Kvass is not the only drink that can be made from birch sap. Since ancient times, wine has been made from birch sap in Russia. It was previously fermented in barrels without any sugar added.
How is Birch Sap Extracted?

Harvesting birch sap lasts from the moment when the snow starts melting and finishes with the breaking of buds. Aligned with astronomical signs, the start of the birch sap collection period comes right on the vernal equinox.
In practice, there are 2 methods of extracting birch sap: private and industrial. Any contact with birch bark harms it. Fortunately, it can be minimized while observing the following rules:
♦ It is strictly forbidden to use an ax for harvesting birch sap.
♦ The maximum amount of sap extracted from 1 tree should be no more than 1 liter per day. You should not strive to get 5 liters or more from one birch. It cannot compensate for such a loss and will perish.
♦ Do not leave a tree with that running sore. After taking the sap it is a must to drive a wooden plug into the hole or close it with tree-pruning paste or wax.
♦ Choose the right birch tree. You should not take the sap from young and old birch trees as that would most probably lead to their death. Ideally, the diameter of the tree should be around 30-40 cm.

There is a more gentle way that is used by professionals. A branch is cut off the tree and the container is put on it. Thus, several bottles can be hung on one birch tree for collecting its sap.
In the industrial method, a perfected method of tapping and professional juice receivers is used. With a well-organized process, the birch trees stay alive.
Birch Tree as a Symbol of Russia
Top 5 Native Russian Drinks You Should Try
On the History of Russian Drinks 
More about Russian Drinks
Russian Tradition of Birchbark Craft
Birchbark Manuscripts
Shemogodsky Birchbark Carving
Birchbark Handicraft
Stereotypes about Russia: Drunk Bears with Balalaikas and Matryoshkas

Photos from http://tvoezdorove.ru




Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Cuisine National Russian Drinks Birch Bark Birch Tree  

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