The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted a research update with data to help maple and birch syrup producers respond to variable climate conditions.
The project has established baseline data for what are hoped to be continuing efforts to determine the optimal time to begin tapping birch trees in conjunction with maple production. » Continue Reading.
Scratch and then sniff a black or yellow birch twig, and the pleasant aroma will likely put a smile on your face. What you are smelling is oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate). This chemical compound is present in the inner bark in both species, although typically to a greater degree in black birch. In the trees, as well as several edible berries that grow in our region, the compound serves as a defense against herbivorous insects. Most people, however, enjoy the taste.
You can make a very nice wintergreen-flavored tea from peeled black or yellow birch twigs. I advise against trying to brew this the traditional way, though (i.e., steeping twigs in boiling water). The reason is that oil of wintergreen is volatile and easily driven off by heat, so if you attempt to make tea with hot water, your kitchen will smell great but there will likely be little if any flavor in your tea cup. » Continue Reading.
The North Country is fortunate to have an abundance of maple as our local sweetener, but there are other syrups as well: try birch and black walnut.
One sure sign of spring is the bustling work of our maple producers: repairing lines, checking the taps, tuning up equipment, and, at last, boiling sap. Every year we look forward to this local food treasure: maple syrup and all of its products such as maple sugar, and maple cream.
New York is the world’s third largest producer of maple syrup and the maple industry in Northern New York is expanding. » Continue Reading.