Chop Wood Carry Water Plant Seeds is a blog about Self-Sufficient Homesteading. How can we live by creating a sustainable bio-diverse world, instead of by consuming and destroying the only one we have? What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tapping Birch Sap and Mung Beans Sprouts

Spring is the time to start tapping Birch sap to get minerals and vitamins.

What is Birch Sap?

Birch sap is a highly nutritious liquid that flows during early spring from roots to buds inside a Birch tree. It is the essence, the life-blood, of the tree, carrying nutrients essential for growth. Birch sap is also a seasonal source of vitamins, minerals and sugars – mainly fructose and glucose. Vitamins and minerals include potassium, manganese, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, sodium, iron, amino acids and Vitamin C – perfect for fending off spring colds.

How to Tap a Birch Tree

Tapping a Birch tree for sap does not harm the tree if carried out correctly. As well as getting the landowner’s permission to tap the Birch trees, make sure you only tap Birch trees that are more than 25cm in diameter. Birch trees should only be tapped once every three years.

Birch sap does not stay fresh for long. If you are tapping a tree, be sure to use the sap for its intended purpose within a couple of days. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can tap now and process later – this will affect the taste and chemical properties of the Birch sap. Birch syrup on the other hand has a shelf life of around two years.

Drill a 40-60mm hole with an 8-12mm sterile drill bit at a slight upward angle, close to ground level but high enough to get your collection container underneath.
Insert a length of sterile ‘food grade’ plastic tubing into the hole (the same diameter as the hole) and put the other end into a sterile ‘food grade’ plastic container (a clean 2 litre plastic milk carton is ideal).
Once tapping is complete, spray each hole with clean water and insert a clean cork. Ensure the material used to cork the hole is a tight fit. An unplugged tap in a Birch tree means it can literally bleed to death.
If you only want to collect a small amount of sap you can make an incision in the bark with a sharp knife. Plug this after collection with a slither of wood or sod of earth, like applying a plaster.

Be sure to always plug any tap hole after sap collection.
Mung beans are easy to sprout. Place some beans  in a glass jar and pierce many small holes in the lid with a knife or a nail. Rinse the beans under water twice a day (every day) and pour it out. There shold be no water in the jar since this can cause the beans to rot. Place the jar in a dark spot in the room temperature. After 4-5 days the Mung beans will sprout. Enjoy!

Though mung bean sprouts are mostly made up of water, they do provide some protein, carbohydrates and fiber. A 1 cup serving of raw mung beans provides 3.16 g of protein, 6.18 g of total carbohydrate and 1.9 g of dietary fiber. Adults should consume between 46 and 56 g of protein daily and 25 to 35 g of dietary fiber, according to the National Academies' Institute of Medicine.
Mung bean sprouts provide folate, a water-soluble B vitamin essential for DNA and red blood cell synthesis. A 1 cup serving of raw mung bean sprouts provides 63 mcg of folate. Adults need 400 mcg of folate daily, according to the National Academies' Institute of Medicine. Mung bean sprouts also provide some vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin B5.
Mung bean sprouts are a source of manganese, a mineral essential for energy metabolism and bone formation. One cup of raw bean sprouts has 0.196 mg of manganese. Men should consume 2.3 mg of manganese daily and women 1.8 mg, as recommended by the National Academies' Institute of Medicine. Mung bean sprouts also have small amounts of magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

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