Birch syrup, harvested from birch trees, is a wonderful ingredient that is still undiscovered by most foodies. Its fabulous taste is quite unique, sometimes described as combining the flavours of honey, caramel and molasses, with a lingering spicy, balsamic finish.
There are some key difference between birch syrup and maple syrup:
- Production. The production of birch syrup is much more labour intensive – just as our birch syrup producers The Canadian Birch Company or Gourmet Sauvage! It takes 40 litres maple sap to make one litre of maple syrup. It takes at least double the amount of birch sap, 80-100 litres, to make one litre of birch syrup.
- Taste. Birch syrup is darker, stronger and richer tasting than maple syrup. Try it for yourself to discover the unique flavour… I taste deep notes of caramel and molasses. It’s not as sweet as maple syrup, which makes it ideal for both sweet and savoury dishes.
- Nutrition. Birch syrup is mostly fructose sugar, same as in fruit, while maple syrup has sucrose, same as table sugar. Birch is also packed with micro-nutrients.
Birch syrup gives the home cook an ingredient that can make an ordinary recipe quite unusual and extraordinary. Here are some recipes to try as you experiment with this undiscovered gem of an ingredient…
White Wine Birch Glaze for Salmon or Pork
½ cup Birch Syrup
¼ cup dry white wine
1 whole shallot
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
Butter and olive oil to sweat onions
Finely dice the shallot. In a small sauce pan heat the olive oil add butter till just hot, add shallots. Cook till translucent. Add white wine and bay leaf, reduce ¾ of the wine then add birch syrup bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or till syrup constancy. Cool to room temp remove bay leaf and add Dijon. Use to glaze, salmon, poached, broiled or bbq. Also delicious on roast pork tenderloin or chops.
Birch Syrup Vinaigrette
¼ cup Birch Syrup
½ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
2 ½ cups good quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
Pepper to taste
Combine vinegar, salt and garlic in a bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add mustard and birch syrup, and mix through. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil to the mix. Should be slightly thick when done. Add pepper to taste. Makes about 3 cups.
Birch Syrup, Scotch & Miso Marinated Black Cod
½ lb. black cod - bones removed or cut out
¼ cup Birch Syrup
¼ cup Scotch
1 tbsp red or white miso
¼ cup Sake
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp chili oil
Mix ingredients together and marinate fish for approximately 2 hours. Cook the fish using your preferred method, either in a pan or broiling on a baking sheet. Medium heat will help caramelize the marinade without over cooking the fish. Pair with your choice of veggies and/or starch.