A tapped birch can give around 4 litres of sap over 24 hours (above). Fermented with lemon and raisins, it makes a lovely wine
Birch tree wine
4 litres of birch sap (as fresh as possible - see the feature on page 36 of February's The Simple Things for how to tap a birch tree)
Juice of 2 lemons
5g wine yeast (1 sachet)
You will need:
1 large bucket
2 x 4.5 litre demijohns with airlocks*
4 or 5 x 750ml bottles
1 Give everything a good scrub and sterilise with hot soapy water. Put the sap in a large pan and bring to the boil. Add the sugar and simmer for around 10 mins until the sugar dissolves. Pour into the sterilised bucket and add the raisins and lemon juice. Leave to cool.
2 ‘Activate’ the yeast according to the packet instructions and sprinkle into the bucket. Cover loosely with a cloth and leave to ferment for around 3 days at room temperature.
3 Strain out the raisins and decant into into one of the demijohns. Seal with an airlock. Leave upright in a warm, darkish place for around 4 weeks. Sediment will collect at the bottom of the jar.
4 Decant the liquid into the second demijohn without disturbing the sediment and seal again with an airlock. Discard the sediment. Leave upright in a warm, darkish place until fermentation is complete (when no more air bubbles rise into the airlock). This could take another 4 weeks.
5 Decant the liquid into your sterilised wine bottles, again without disturbing the sediment and seal. Discard the sediment.
6 Store the bottles on their sides in a cool place (if you’re using corks, make sure they’re tight!) and leave to ‘age’ for at least 3 months. Best after a year, if you can wait that long!
* For wine-making supplies, try homebrewcentre.co.uk or wilko.com.
Recipe by Kate Turner.