In April, it’s time to fall to the roots — in the truest sense of the word.
Time to get and drink birch sap.
The season to get it is too short — literally 2 weeks a year.
Professionals tell about the most Russian drink of spring: how to get, how to store, what to do and what is its meaning and benefit.
Maxim Rybakov, chef GK Pushkarskaya Sloboda, Suzdal, Vladimir region:
“Birch sap is the most delicate taste to taste with light sweetish notes. In general, it is rather strange to paint the charm of “birch” taste (rather weak and unexpressed), because in fact it is pure natural water enriched with tree minerals — and this is its main charm.
Plus, the special meaning of birch as a symbol of Russia.
Maxim Rybakov, Chef GK Pushkarskaya Sloboda, Suzdal
I have been working with birch sap not for the first year.
I have reliable suppliers who stock it in tons. They supply us juice in restaurants, and for the house I myself — according to their method — extract juice from the middle to the end of April. These 12-14 days are the best times for gathering, especially the first days, the so-called “first gathering”.
It is better to go to the forest at night or in the early morning.
Came to the forest, look for birch: not too young and not too old, with a diameter of about 30 cm
Choosing a tree is very important, because it is harmful for a young tree, and in an old tree it can be full of parasites and insects. Found the right tree? Well done!
Drill a hole with a screwdriver, insert a dropper tube into it, insert the container (you can have a plastic bottle or a glass jar) and wait for the juice to fill the container.
Arsenal for collecting birch sap from Maxim Rybakov, chef GK Pushkarskaya Sloboda and his birch kvass
The best option is to drink birch sap or use it for cooking right away.
If you want to stretch the pleasure, to the detriment of the benefits of a natural drink — freeze it. To do this, bottle it and put it in the fridge.
But fresh juice is fresh juice.
I make from it kvass. To do this, I mix in a saucepan 1 liter of juice and 50 g of rye sourdough and leave for 5 hours at room temperature, covering the container with foil.
Then I filter the liquid, bottled, which I close with a tight lid and tidy up in the cold (plus 5-7 ° C) for 48 hours. Kvass is ready.
Most of all, it looks like white kvass with its characteristic sourness and a little “fermented” note in taste.
This drink is stored for a week, but it is drunk much faster. ”
Nikita Poderyagin, chef of Scandinavian cuisine Bjorn:
“There are three factors that you need to pay attention to when collecting birch sap. 1. Do not extract the juice from the Moscow birch trees, and even the trees near Moscow are not very suitable for this.
Leave far away — in the area, at least 30-40 km from the city.
2. Do not use for collecting young and old trees.
Your goal is a birch with a diameter of 3-4 male palms. The opening for juice extraction should not be deeper than 5 cm.
After collecting the juice, be sure to close up / coat the hole with wax or moss, even just stick a birch twig into it, then it will definitely get accustomed.
3. Collect birch sap until the buds have blossomed.
This is the time of “rut”: if you come up to the birch and lean your ear against a tree, you will hear the noise of the juice going.
Nikita Poderyagin, chef restaurant Bjorn and the supply of birch sap there
There is enough sugar in birch sap to make low-alcohol drinks from it, for example, sparkling wine — it ferments well.
The recipe for such derivative drinks can be found in old cookbooks.
Freshly squeezed juice is the most useful. I consider it a real living water.
All you need to do after picking is to strain the drink through cheesecloth and use immediately.
For me, frozen birch sap is only cosmetic ice.
In the restaurant in season, we serve the drink clean or I use it as one of the ingredients for making the sauce. Some of the chefs make syrup from it, but this is too expensive: out of 100-120 l of juice, only 1 l of syrup is obtained.
And the beauty of freshness disappears. ”