Last week I went to a Russian delicatessen that was recommended by a foodie friend on Twitter. It’s a tiny little place but it sure has an amazing array of yummy things. Among my purchases were mountain tea and birch juice. Yes! Birch juice!
I’ve never heard of birches being juiced, and this just happens to be my favourite tree. So it was only natural that I would appoint myself as the selfless taste tester to share this discovery with you.
My research tells me that birch juice is very much a common meal time drink in Russia but that it is also drunk in other countries like Germany. (How did I miss that? I lived in Germany, hmmm. ) Anyway, the sap is tapped from a live tree, without permanently harming it, this sap is the juice. Or in my case, the container also listed citric acid and water as ingredients.
Medicinally birch juice has diuretic properties, is loaded with flavinoids and VitC. Often used to flush out a sluggish system in a Spring detox regime, it is also used stimulate the metabolism, cleanse the blood, ease arthritis and gout and help reduce bad cholesterol.
Taste wise, well it’s rather nice actually. Clear and odourless like water, it has a refrehsing, slightly tangy flavour – although the tang may have been the citric acid. The juice is now all gone, I chose to drink it in the mornings before breakfast and I’d happily drink it again. I would very much like to try the fresh version and have to look out for it next time I am in birch country.
How to collect birch juice
First encounter with birch juice
Making birch syrup at home