Birch bark is used for a variety of purposes, from making jewelry to building canoes. But relax. Contact Dermatitis. Shared on: Weekend Wholefood Blender Part, Simply Natural Saturdays, Natural Living Mondays, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Thank Goodness it’s Monday, Backyard Farming Connection #63, Teach Me Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist #41, Fresh Foods Wednesdays #65, 120th Wildcrafting Wednesday, HomeAcre Hop #53, From the Farm Blog Hop, Simple Saturdays #7, Old Fashioned Friday #52, Waste Not, Want Not Wednesday #59, Wicked Awesome Wednesday #145, Time Travel Thursday #184, The 104 Homestead Blog Hop, Simple Life Sunday #3. Roll up the strips all together and stand them on edge in the can — be sure you don't cover up the hole you punched in the bottom! Fill the jar with olive oil, leaving about half an inch (1.2 centimeters) of space at the top. Be sure to check at least one other source of tree identification. Swirl the ingredients around gently every few hours. As the tree grows, the bark begins to develop vertical cracks, and eventually scaly plates, as you can see in the photo. Tars are used primarily as sealants and fire-starters. This article is meant to inspire you and get you started. Dig about 1 inch deep to make sure you are able to extract the pine bark comfortably. Pressurized stem extracts the volatile plant oils. The liquid that you collect will resemble dirty motor oil, and it will have a very strong odor. If you do it gently without burning any on to the metal you should be able to pour it out, or scoop it out. I hope to post more wintergreen containing recipes eventually! However, if you are new to tree identification, it may be easier for you to definitively identify yellow birch, with its more distinctive bark. Cut your birch bark so that when it is standing on edge it is a little shorter than the height of your condensing can. All you need to process birch bark are two cans and a fire. Harvesting Birch Bark: Birch bark is a lovely material that can be woven, folded, and lashed into a great variety of projects. After playing around more with it, I’ve decided it works best if you chop up twigs as finely as possible, use 100 proof vodka, and let it set for at least 6 months. I recently wrote about making an extract of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) from the tiny ground cover, Gaultheria procumbens, which goes by the common name wintergreen . It is also very easy to make, and you can produce large quantities with minimal resources. Pour in enough 80 or 100 proof vodka to cover the twigs. Thanks, Vickie. You can apply it to almost any surface or fabric in order to make them more impenetrable to moisture, and it can also be used as a mild-adhesive when making minor repairs. Essential oil is a valued component of plants. Step 2 Turn the rectangle so the two 3-inch ends are horizontal. It’s possible that river birch can be used to make wintergreen extract, but I have no experience with that tree, so I’m not recommending it. Today, several industries incorporate birch bark into many of their products. Both sweet birch and yellow birch, two trees of our temperate forests, also produce methyl salicylate, and can be used to make the same extract. This tutorial guides you through the process of extracting that tar from the bark. Several layers of white paper may be peeled away on thick bark to make the remaining sheets easier to cut and fold. A Natural Fungicide. Thanks! Yellow birch ranges over most of the eastern US and Canada, as seen in this map. Repeat the process, using the same oil, for 3 days or until the fragrance reaches the desired strength. Thank you so much for sharing your post on the HomeAcre Hop, hope to see you again tomorrow! Be sure to confirm identification with at least one other source before consuming any wild plant. Add to the jar 400iu capsule of Vitamin E to every 2 cups of oil (helps prevent rancidity). Pingback: Brush up on your Tree ID this Fall! One Acre Farm is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertizing program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. You would add about a teaspoon of an extract to an entire batch of cookies. Let’s take a look at a simple method for processing the material along with a few tips on how to put it to good use. Put the pine bark you have extracted into a large basket or bucket. As essential oils are more potent and effective when combined, you can create your own birch blend. Birch beer, birch wine and birch mead were made just about anywhere in the world birch trees grow. Cover these leaves with oil (olive, grapeseed, almond, etc.) Alternate branching pattern of sweet birch. Remove strips of the bark from the tree and line the inside of a large metal can until it is stuffed. You can make wintergreen extract from birches, particularly sweet birch and … They can be used to make wintergreen extract at any time of year, but the lean winter season is a good time, because there aren’t a lot of other wild edible options. Screw the lid on and store in a cool dark place for a week. Its unique yellowish, peeling bark is easy to identify, except when the tree is very young. How to Make Birch Leaf Oil. You should always look … and be sure to … We have black birch (river birch) and paper birch here in the West. Fill a clean jar about 2/3 of the way with the chopped or scraped twigs. I had no idea that birch was a source of flavouring. They do make syrup from the sap around here. Taste it occasionally, and strain out the twigs when the wintergreen flavor is strong, or just leave the twigs in the extract. Yellow birch bark. Try my wintergreen ice cream brownie torte. Try to make your own batch the next time you come across a downed birch tree. An alcohol extract is not pure oil of wintergreen, and you wouldn’t consume a whole teaspoon at once. Try to make your own batch the next time you come across a downed birch tree. You can make wintergreen extract from birches, particularly sweet birch and yellow birch. Birch species are generally small to medium-sized trees or shrubs, mostly of northern temperate and boreal climates. Cap the jar tightly and gently shake to coat the pine needles with the sweet almond oil. In baked goods it gives a subtle wintergreen flavor. Never eat a wild plant until you are certain of its identity and edibility. View abstract. 4. I saw the recipe for wintergreen ice cream brownie torte in your previous post; do you have more recipes for using the wintergreen? Pour the oil or vodka and cedar through a strainer into a bowl. It will thicken and solidify as it cools, and you can form it into various shapes and sizes according to your needs. They often appear in pairs, but these pairs are really borne on spur-like, two-leaved, lateral branchlets. Love this article. All you need to process birch bark are two cans and a fire. Learn how your comment data is processed. The oil has also been touted as an insect repellent, but there is a lot of disagreement as to its overall effectiveness. I’m very interested in making my recipes glitch free. Tars are used primarily as sealants and fire-starters. FIRST CHOICE: strain bark out from the oil through a sieve to remove the bark and return the oil to the jar. But relax. So I will focus on winter identification of these trees. That depends on where you live: Use the one that’s most common in your area. This process, known as "distilling," Birch Bark and Its many Uses It is important to keep in mind that removing the inner layer of bark from any live tree can do irreversible harm to that tree. To make homemade birch oil, add fresh leaves in a jar and pour carrier oil (e.g., olive oil) till the top of the jar Cover the jar with a cloth and tie it with a rubber band Put this jar outside in a sunny place for a month and stir the mixture gently once in a week. If you try the torte, please let me know how it comes out. And, like aspirin, pure oil of wintergreen is toxic in large enough quantities. Birch essential oil comes from the pulverized bark of the birch tree. The surface of the inner bark can be further exposed by using the blade of the hatchet. The fact that birch bark is 100% water proof has surely played a major role in its usefulness, and so has its flexibility – but the high content of betulin (a substance with fungicidal properties) also makes birch bark perfect for constructing various containers for food preservation, or for simply holding and keeping water fresh. Perhaps those cookies that you mentioned? Both sweet birch (Betula lenta) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) are fairly easy to identify. But that little ground cover is not the only plant that produces wintergreen. – Nancy The Home Acre Hop, Pingback: Wintergreen ice cream brownie torte - One Acre Farm, How have I never heard of this? Chances are that you will discover all kinds of ways to put birch bark oil to work for you, and this is one resource that you definitely want to have in your survival bag of tricks. On a young tree, the bark is smooth and dark with small, horizontal lines called lenticels. Relieves bruises, burns, eczema, wounds, skin eruptions and psoriasis. Your email address will not be published. Many people enjoy working with this type of wood due to its versatility, water resistance and rot resistance. After a few … Prepare new petals, following steps 1 and 2, and cover with the oil you've already used. If they’re all common on your stomping ground, go with one of the trees, since removal of a few twigs has a negligible impact on a tree. I’ll try the twigs and see if it works. Thanks for stopping by! To make an infused oil for sore muscles, collect birch bark, leaves, or both, and submerge them in a carrier oil, such as olive oil, for at least a few weeks. You can either store the oil as-is, or you can process it further until it turns into a tar-like substance. Yellow birch twigs have been chopped into small pieces and will be used to make wintergreen extract. Generally, using the little plant called wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) gives a stronger flavor, but this did worked. What a wonderful post! | hortshorts, Pingback: Fresh, Green, and Wintry | Flowers, Plants n Blooms. I’ll let you know what I find. Bark of sweet birch, youngest to oldest, from left to right. This is a common tree of deciduous temperate forests of most of the eastern US and Ontario, as shown in this range map. You can also light small pieces of tar and strategically-place them around fires that would otherwise be hard to ignite. Measure, mark and cut a 3-by-5-inch rectangle from the birch bark. It’s fairly easy to identify by its bark, but the bark appearance does change as the tree ages. Here I have used yellow birch. Pour sweet almond oil into a large-mouth glass jar. The liquid that you collect will resemble dirty motor oil, and it will have a very strong odor. To use tar as a fire-starter, simply coat some of the kindling and wood with the substance and light. Taste it occasionally, and strain out the twigs when the wintergreen flavor is strong, or just leave the twigs in the extract. I love this article, Janet. Place the larger can on top and surround it with your wood. Thanks, Chris! For this time you … Pour almond or grapeseed oil or vodka over the cedar until the jar is full. Birch bark … I would really love to know if river birch has that minty smell, so would love it if you did get back to me on that! Generally, it is the bark of the birch tree that is used in the distillation process in order to create essential oils. All you need to process birch bark are two cans and a fire. Black cherry has somewhat smaller buds as you can see here. (In the photos we used six strips of bark that were 6 inches high and 18 inches long.) The extraction of the oil from Sassafras bark and roots is done by distillation. Poke a hole, about ½ inch in diameter, in the center of the bottom of the can. To extract oil from fruit peels by cold pressing, start by washing the fruit thoroughly to remove bacteria. Put the lid on the jar and shake it gently to mix the flowers, herbs and oils. Used as a remedy for gout, scrofula, and dropsy. The easiest way to do this is to make a fire pit and bury the smaller can so that the top rests just above the dirt or ashes. For … It is slightly fainter than the wintergreen scent of sweet birch. Which plant is the best one to use? Let it sit for and hour and clear up, after that you should be able to see the layer of oil on the bottom. I have read that “yellow birch tastes bitter”, but I do not notice a bitter flavor to the alcohol extract, so perhaps alcohol does not extract the bitter substance. And I’m definitely interested in checking out your icecream brownie torte next! One of the most common uses for birch bark oil is as a fuel. Store the jar out of direct sunlight in a warm room with an ambient temperature of at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you take advantage of the benefits of pine pitch in the field, but don’t like going through the hassle of processing the material, you may want to consider birch tar or oil as an alternative. The only birch we have on our property is a river birch. The bark of very young trees is completely smooth. . The bark of the older tree on the right has many more peeling curls than the younger tree on the left. Let sit in a dark place at room temperature for at least several months, shaking every day or two. Then, use a pressing device, such as a sieve or garlic press, to squeeze the fruit peel over a jar until you see liquid drain from the peel. This is such a wonderful article! The twigs and buds of yellow birch look very similar to those of sweet birch. The inner bark making extracts of my own ( vanilla, lemon, etc. place! Sure you are certain of its identity and edibility medium-sized trees or shrubs, mostly of northern temperate and climates. 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