Birch Water Season Starts Soon

Picture of birch sap tube and a bottle of birch water and a dog approaching the spa bottle.

March 04, 2018

Even though the ground is still covered in snow also in Southern Finland, the foraging season is just around the corner. Birch sap is our native 100% natural refreshing drink, the Finnish alternative for detoxifying coconut water. Birch sap contains fructose and glucose, amino acids, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

In the taiga region, the birch sap season starts when the snow starts melting and it ends just when the tiny birch leaf buds pop up (they are edible too). The birch sap is the nutrient water which the tree sucks up from the ground and which it uses to start the growth of the leaves. The time to collect the birch water lasts only about 2–3 weeks. In the southern Finland, it's usually been in the end of April but since the climate is changing rapidly now, especially here up north, you might want to get prepared for the this limited foraging period a little bit earlier. Start by watching this video where our forest immersion guide Roosa explains how it's done.


The amounts of the nutrients are not massive, but they are in a form which they are absorbed quickly into the body, and the body is able to use them effectively.


Instructions for collecting birch sap

1. Ask the permission form the land owner if not your own land.

2. Drill a hole in the tree about 5mm wide and 4cm deep, place the hole near the ground.

3. Place a tube in the hole and put the other end in a glass bottle and just let the sap drain.

4. Store in the refrigerator, stays drinkable for about 24h. Or store the sap in the freezer straight after collecting. You can place some snow around the bucket to keep the birch sap cool and fresh. The birch sap doesn't stay good for long periods of time in warm temperatures.

5. Cover the "wound" of the birch tree with a twig wax.

6. You can get over 50l from a big birch tree!



Did you know?

  • In addition to serving us natural vitamin water, the national tree of Finland pampers us with leaves and sugar.
  • Birch leaves can be enjoyed as detoxifying tea or used as a spice in cooking, like parsley. You can use them also externally in DIY natural cosmetics.
  • Birch sugar (xylitol) is a perfect alternative for traditional white sugar containing 40% less calories. The studies have shown that birch sugar is good for your dental health and it prevents also ear infections. Nowadays, xylitol is produced industrially from the side stream of birch wood industry.



Norbert said:

Please stop spreading this foolish myth that birch sap contains xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is industrially produced using high temperature and sulfuric acid (more uncommonly through fermentation), usually from agricultural waste products like corn cobs or tree bark (that is otherwise thrown away in furniture production).


Pauliina said:

Hi Norbert!
We are not saying that birch sap contains xylitol. But you can get xylitol from birch trees as it says in the text. Helsinki Wildfoods’ Birch Surgar (xylitol) that was previously one of our products was manufactured from side stream of birch wood industry and this is what we teach in our workshops too. However, this article wasn’t about birch sugar. It was just an additional info that in addition to sap you can get xylitol from birch trees too and use its leaves and buds in cooking. But I’ll be happy to add that to the article too. Thanks for the comment!

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