Tree Sap & Tree Water the latest trend in all-natural beverages
Recently we’ve discovered a new way to make use of an old and familiar resource– Trees. You may or may not know, but there’s a surprisingly nutritious sap & tree water hidden inside and people are turning it into incredible stuff (with almost no effort at all). That’s because sap harvested from maple, birch and walnut trees is comprised of almost 98% water. The rest is left to natural sugars which are packed with minerals, antioxidants, and much more. While at first it might sound like a big glass of yuck, you’d be surprised to know that sap isn’t a sticky mess and will actually leave a sweet taste in your mouth.
Tree sap only runs through the tree for a limited amount of time, near late winter/early spring of every year, turning this small window of opportunity into a big chance for sap harvesters in the right climates all over the world. Turns out North America has a lot of catching up to do behind Russia, Asia and Europe who have already been benefiting from this tree water liquid gold for years. Some people like to call this process “sugaring” since most of their efforts with tree sap ends up being turned into confectioners syrup, maple syrup, and other naturally sweet ingredients. Those who have familiarized themselves with the method insist that tree sap almost always tastes best directly from the tree, before adding anything else. But if that isn’t sweet enough for you, about 20-30 minutes of boiling will really golden the sap and intensify that sugar-y flavor you might crave.
The attention surrounding tree sap recently gained substantial momentum when a brand called Sap! was featured on an episode of ABC’s popular business-based reality show, Shark Tank earlier this year. Two cousins from a small town in Vermont have carried on their family’s tradition of work in the maple tree industry with pride; however, they’re putting a creative twist on the eighth generation business by making their yearly harvest into additionally delicious products like maple sodas, seltzers, tree water and even sparkling birch water.
If sparkling waters and sodas are too carbonated or fancy for you, you might also be interested to hear about a brand called Sap on Tap, known for making pure and simple “maple water,” which you might be familiar with as a sector in the “alternative hydration” market. We’ve all heard of alternative waters (like coconut and aloe waters) and the impact they’ve made on the health and food industries. Brands like Sap on Tap are convinced that maple water is not far behind.
On top of being delicious and highly versatile, tree sap is packed full of nutrients that can make an impact on your health. This includes not only your basic vitamins and minerals but more complex compounds like amino acids, polyphenols, and enzymes. In-depth mineral analysis of maple trees in particular has revealed that their sap holds abundant amounts of potassium, calcium and magnesium. Because of this high nutrient content, maple sap has shown to improve conditions like osteoporosis, high blood pressure and also prevent potential gastric ulcer formation. And that’s just the beginning. Antioxidants and rich nutrients in the sap will also help fight fatigue and inflammation while boosting your immune system and detoxifying your body. There aren’t many other naturally delicious beverages out there that can provide all these benefits on top of their flavor.
Another great benefit of this sweet sap (and one of our favorites) is that despite what we know about combining sugar and alcohol, lab research helped to prove that maple sap can actually help prevent hangovers, too! Maple sap specifically can assist in facilitating alcohol metabolism and speed up the replenishment of your body’s nutrients after a fun night out. Because sap from this particular tree contains various forms of electrolytes, studies showed that those who consumed it before drinking alcohol had a faster reduction of both blood alcohol concentration and acetaldehyde (a byproduct of alcohol metabolism) when evaluated later.
If the thought of pure maple sap or tree water still freaks you out a little bit, we recommend easing yourself into the craze by trying a carbonated or sparkling version first. In most areas, you can find them at your local health food store.