Birch Tapping Season Is Now Upon Us!

As we got home from our brief visit to South Central Alaska, we are starting to notice the tell-tale signs that it’s birch tapping season here in the Interior!

If this is something you’re interested in, we’ve got a detailed article on how to do it at the home scale, which you’ll find linked in the comments. We have some unique perspectives on it, so even if you’re a tried and true tapper, you might want to check out our process!

One of the best indicators we’ve seen that “it’s time” to tap those birch is when the snow just starts to recede away from the base of the trees. The tree will usually start flowing shortly after this happens. The window for tapping birch is short, usually about two to three weeks in the early season. Once it’s done, it’s game over until the next season!

In case you don’t know what this is all about, just like with maple trees, we can tap birch and make birch syrup! It’s absolutely delicious and can easily be done with minimal equipment by the home enthusiast. Unlike with maple syrup, though, there’s a lot more “reduction” that has to happen with the birch sap. So, it’s slightly more involved, but well worth the effort if you’re into foraging and are up for a little bit of effort.

We’ve generally found our syrup to be quite resilient to storage and freezing, so we tend to make a bit of it some seasons and then can take several seasons off from tapping. We also want to allow plenty of time for our trees to recover, so we’re sure to spread out our tapping efforts across our limited birch trees that we have on our property.

If you’re looking to acquire the equipment, we’ve had the best luck at our local feed stores. They often carry the taps that are needed and other than that, the effort is sustained with easily acquired equipment. We’ve seen the taps come in metal and plastic form, we usually recommend the metal ones if you’re looking for longevity in your gear.

So, if you’re looking to make a fantastic syrup that will keep for a good long time, we definitely enjoy and recommend birch tapping! It’s an awesome thing us northerners can do and definitely offers the northern cook a unique, home made ingredient!

Birch Syrup Harvesting Within Interior Alaska

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2 comments… add one
  • Noel Apr 16, 2024 @ 18:02

    Hi! Do you think birch season is over for this year (2024) in the fairbanks area?

    • Jeff Apr 17, 2024 @ 20:53

      Nope! It’s just getting started this year! A good way to know is to taste the birch sap. If it’s slightly sweet, we’re still in the season. If it’s slightly bitter, it’s too late. If you’re tapping “’til the end” of the season, then it’s a good idea to taste the sap daily to know when the season is over.

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