It is used in cosmetics, aromatherapy and medicine. Its unique yellowish, peeling bark is easy to identify, except when the tree is very young. I saw the recipe for wintergreen ice cream brownie torte in your previous post; do you have more recipes for using the wintergreen? Special Offer: Save Up To 50% On J5 Tactical Flashlights Today! Cover these leaves with oil (olive, grapeseed, almond, etc.) 4. The liquid that you collect will resemble dirty motor oil, and it will have a very strong odor. Most Bushcrafter's know that Birch bark is fantastic for fire lighting because of all the oil concealed within it. It is not meant to be THE authoritative source on birch identification. However, it does seem to keep snails, slugs and grubs at bay. Thanks for stopping by! But relax. With a sharp knife (which will need to be resharpened after this), chop the twigs into small lengths. Birch bark … 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. Janet, thank you so much for this article! Remove strips of the bark from the tree and line the inside of a large metal can until it is stuffed. Step 2 Turn the rectangle so the two 3-inch ends are horizontal. Do the same to black cherry, and you will notice an unpleasant odor that is not at all minty. Pingback: 15 Trees for a Wildlife-Friendly, Edible Landsape - One Acre Farm. Many people enjoy working with this type of wood due to its versatility, water resistance and rot resistance. 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. Screw the lid on and store in a cool dark place for a week. Pour almond or grapeseed oil or vodka over the cedar until the jar is full. Yellow birch bark. Essential oil is a valued component of plants. The simple leaves are alternate, singly or doubly serrate, feather-veined, petiolate and stipulate. 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. Thank you so much for sharing your post on the HomeAcre Hop, hope to see you again tomorrow! We have black birch (river birch) and paper birch here in the West. A teaspoon (7 grams) of pure oil of wintergreen can kill an adult, and 4.7 grams can kill a child, as you can see here. . Let sit in a dark place at room temperature for at least several months, shaking every day or two. The extraction of the oil from Sassafras bark and roots is done by distillation. and be sure to … Use the best looking leaves – nothing wilted, brown, diseased, or infested with insects. And I’m definitely interested in checking out your icecream brownie torte next! Remove strips of the bark from the tree and line the inside of a large metal can until it is stuffed. Methyl salicylate (pure oil of wintergreen) is a lot like acetyl salicylate, which is aspirin. Try my wintergreen ice cream brownie torte. Measure, mark and cut a 3-by-5-inch rectangle from the birch bark. Let it sit for and hour and clear up, after that you should be able to see the layer of oil on the bottom. For this time you … The difference is not tremendous, so you can see how important the scratch and sniff test is. Thanks, Toni! Methods of extracting volatile oils from plant material and the production of such oils. Add to the jar 400iu capsule of Vitamin E to every 2 cups of oil (helps prevent rancidity). Bark of sweet birch, youngest to oldest, from left to right. Birch species are generally small to medium-sized trees or shrubs, mostly of northern temperate and boreal climates. Sweet birch has long, pointy buds, as you can see in the photo below. I just recently started making extracts of my own (vanilla, lemon, etc.) This article is meant to inspire you and get you started. All you need to process birch bark are two cans and a fire. Yellow birch twigs have been chopped into small pieces and will be used to make wintergreen extract. You should always look … The scratch and sniff test will help you distinguish black birch from black cherry. Slows the growth of HIV. I’ll have to check it out to see if it’s minty. You can also use it to coat tools and utensils to protect metal from corrosion, and the oil also makes for a great lubricant. Some companies use it as a fragrance component in men’s perfumes and colognes. Both sweet birch (Betula lenta) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) are fairly easy to identify. An alcohol extract is not pure oil of wintergreen, and you wouldn’t consume a whole teaspoon at once. View all posts by janet@ouroneacrefarm.com, Wintergreen ice cream brownie torte - One Acre Farm, 15 Trees for a Wildlife-Friendly, Edible Landsape - One Acre Farm, Brush up on your Tree ID this Fall! Poke a hole, about ½ inch in diameter, in the center of the bottom of the can. 2013;68(6):382-3. Generally, it is the bark of the birch tree that is used in the distillation process in order to create essential oils. Survival Gear, Survival Skills, Survival Tips. All you need to process birch bark are two cans and a fire. It is made from just birch bark heated in a oven with little air, much like charcoal. This little-known extract can provide you with fuel, act as a sealant and even repel certain kinds of insects. Birch beer, birch wine and birch mead were made just about anywhere in the world birch trees grow. You would add about a teaspoon of an extract to an entire batch of cookies. 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. 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. Tars are used primarily as sealants and fire-starters. The bark of the older tree on the right has many more peeling curls than the younger tree on the left. One of the most common uses for birch bark oil is as a fuel. Harvesting Birch Bark: Birch bark is a lovely material that can be woven, folded, and lashed into a great variety of projects. You can see that post here. To extract oil from fruit peels by cold pressing, start by washing the fruit thoroughly to remove bacteria. Like aspirin, it has medicinal qualities, such as anti-inflammatory and anti-fever properties. For … Poke a hole, about ½ inch in diameter, in the center of the bottom of the can. That depends on where you live: Use the one that’s most common in your area. Oil will ooze from the bark and settle on the bottom of the can as it is heated. Types of Birch Essential Oil You can make wintergreen extract from birches, particularly sweet birch and yellow birch. (In the photos we used six strips of bark that were 6 inches high and 18 inches long.) The liquid that you collect will resemble dirty motor oil, and it will have a very strong odor. I have trees on my property that are either cherry or birch and I’ve been pouring through my tree ID books to figure out which they are. Place the larger can on top and surround it with your wood. 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. If you try the torte, please let me know how it comes out. Birch essential oil comes from the pulverized bark of the birch tree. So I will focus on winter identification of these trees. Birch bark tar is not made from the sap of birch trees like birch syrup. Try to make your own batch the next time you come across a downed birch tree. But that little ground cover is not the only plant that produces wintergreen. It prefers good sun exposure and acidic soil. The oil has also been touted as an insect repellent, but there is a lot of disagreement as to its overall effectiveness. The birch bark oil, mostly betulum, will sweat out of the bark and run to the bottom of your oven. Here I have used yellow birch. Yellow birch saplings have smooth, dark bark, but as the tree grows, fine, horizontal strips of golden bark peel off and curl, as shown in the photo below. Put the lid on the jar and shake it gently to mix the flowers, herbs and oils. Scrape a twig and notice the minty wintergreen scent. You can make wintergreen extract from birches, particularly sweet birch and … We have birch trees on our property, I may have to try this! I love this article, Janet. The steam then cools into a liquid that contains both essential oil and the water used to extract it. Scratch open the bark on a small twig, and sweet birch will smell pleasantly minty. Click here to find how it is done. You may want to soak or steam the birch bark to make it more flexible prior to using it in your birch bark craft project. Birch Bark to reduce fever, relieve a headache, eliminate excess water, thin the blood and combat urinary tract infections as well as, relieve arthritis and rheumatism. Use your handy dandy syringe and tube to reach and extract it. It will thicken and solidify as it cools, and you can form it into various shapes and sizes according to your needs. Taste it occasionally, and strain out the twigs when the wintergreen flavor is strong, or just leave the twigs in the extract. Place a piece of birch bark on a flat work surface so the front side of the bark is facing down. I’m very interested in making my recipes glitch free. Only on Amazon.com. More information on the process can be found in a publication: Sievers, A.F. But relax. It is also very easy to make, and you can produce large quantities with minimal resources. U.S. Dept. 3. Be sure to check at least one other source of tree identification. Unfortunately, both Betula lenta and Betula nigra are sometimes called black birch. How to Make Birch Leaf Oil. However, it’s important to note that using bark characteristics alone can lead to confusion of sweet birch with black cherry (Prunus serotina), which has bark that looks like this. Relieves temporary sleeplessness. The general idea is to center a smaller can beneath the hole in the larger one in order to collect the oil. Thanks! 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 . Thank you for a fabulous read, so interesting. This is such a wonderful article! 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. Fill the jar full with cedar leaves, berries and bark. The twigs and buds of yellow birch look very similar to those of sweet birch. Sweet birch and black cherry both have alternate branching patterns, and their winter buds look somewhat similar, too. Put the pine bark you have extracted into a large basket or bucket. This tutorial guides you through the process of extracting that tar from the bark. Or, instead of chopping, you could scrape up the outer bark to expose the green inner bark. If you do, your oil will become rancid and might grow harmful Botulism bacteria. Other common applications include treating and sealing leather or to make various fabrics more water-resistant. Birch essential oil is extracted from one of the varieties of birch trees that are out there through a process of steam distillation, like so many of the other essential oils that you use. Pour in enough 80 or 100 proof vodka to cover the twigs. Black cherry has somewhat smaller buds as you can see here. But what can the extract from Birch Bark specifically do for the skin? Your email address will not be published. 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. Thanks, Vickie. Birch bark is used for a variety of purposes, from making jewelry to building canoes. Your email address will not be published. Store the jar out of direct sunlight in a warm room with an ambient temperature of at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit. As essential oils are more potent and effective when combined, you can create your own birch blend. This will soften the resin within the bark which has hardened. After a few … A Natural Fungicide. How large is large enough? Pour oil over the rosemary. This process, known as "distilling," Thanks, Chris! You can also light small pieces of tar and strategically-place them around fires that would otherwise be hard to ignite. They often appear in pairs, but these pairs are really borne on spur-like, two-leaved, lateral branchlets. 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 the help I needed! If you distill a larger quantity and filter the residue you should have a very nice rosin for other applications. If you do it gently without burning any on to the metal you should be able to pour it out, or scoop it out. and now I think I will try wintergreen! Which plant is the best one to use? What a wonderful post! According to Krasutsky, there is historical evidence of people using birch bark for different healing processes dating back five to 15,000 years ago. Generally, using the little plant called wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) gives a stronger flavor, but this did worked. Yellow birch ranges over most of the eastern US and Canada, as seen in this map. You can learn more about using birch for topical healing in this video or see this recipe for birch leaf infused oil. They do make syrup from the sap around here. And, like aspirin, pure oil of wintergreen is toxic in large enough quantities. If done mindfully, birch bark can be sustainably harvested without permanently damaging trees. Next, remove the rind of the fruit with a peeler or knife. 5. I hope to post more wintergreen containing recipes eventually! Place the jar in a sunny spot and leave it for at least 48 hours. Allow the petals to steep for 24 hours. View abstract. 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. It is slightly fainter than the wintergreen scent of sweet birch. Cover the can before starting the fire, and let it cook down until all of the liquid has been extracted. 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. Pingback: Brush up on your Tree ID this Fall! Fill a clean jar about 2/3 of the way with the chopped or scraped twigs. 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. 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. Removing the inner layer prevents the flow of sap, which will eventually kill the tree if enough bark is removed. You would add about a teaspoon of an extract to an entire batch of cookies. An alcohol extract is not pure oil of wintergreen, and you wouldn’t consume a whole teaspoon at once. In baked goods it gives a subtle wintergreen flavor. If you have both species in your area, sweet birch may be the better choice because it has the stronger wintergreen scent. 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! 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! In the 1700s, early Native Americans used birch bark and wintergreen as ingredients for their herbal teas. – Nancy The Home Acre Hop, Pingback: Wintergreen ice cream brownie torte - One Acre Farm, How have I never heard of this? Add a drop of birch to your shampoo and wash as usual. That wasn’t always the case, and real birch beer, alcoholic birch beer, has been brewed for 100’s of years. Learn how your comment data is processed. Alternate branching pattern of sweet birch. Used as a remedy for gout, scrofula, and dropsy. So cool. Pour your birch tar oil into a clear container, small circumference is better as it will make the water layer easier to deal with. What to do with your wintergreen extract? For one, it is a supreme healer. Line a funnel with fine cheesecloth and pour the oil through the cloth and into your second jar, if you want to make the essential oil stronger. Never eat a wild plant until you are certain of its identity and edibility. Prepare new petals, following steps 1 and 2, and cover with the oil you've already used. This is a common tree of deciduous temperate forests of most of the eastern US and Ontario, as shown in this range map. Fill the jar with olive oil, leaving about half an inch (1.2 centimeters) of space at the top. | hortshorts, Pingback: Fresh, Green, and Wintry | Flowers, Plants n Blooms. You can either store the oil as-is, or you can process it further until it turns into a tar-like substance. Dig about 1 inch deep to make sure you are able to extract the pine bark comfortably. At first, sweet birch and black cherry will appear very similar to you, but over time, you will learn to pick out the subtle differences between the bark and buds of these trees. If you need to clean it further, varsol, paint thinner, turpentine or olive oil should do … Fill a clean glass jar to within 1/2″ of the top with fresh, washed and dried, birch leaves. 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. It is a very flammable substance that can be used for lanterns or to douse fabric attached to hand torches. Meyer-Hoffert U, Brasch J. Allergic contact dermatitis caused by betulin-containing triterpene extract from the outer bark of birch (Betula alba). The process takes a few hours for all of the tar to extract properly. Go looking for birch beer these days and you’ll find sugary sweet soda with just a few drops of birch oil added. The surface of the inner bark can be further exposed by using the blade of the hatchet. However, protect your fingers while performing this task. When Cell Phones Stop Working, then What. It’s fairly easy to identify by its bark, but the bark appearance does change as the tree ages. Contact Dermatitis. I’ll try the twigs and see if it works. Birch Bark Flour. | hortshorts, Fresh, Green, and Wintry | Flowers, Plants n Blooms. 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. Agriculture. Repeat the process, using the same oil, for 3 days or until the fragrance reaches the desired strength. One of the most common uses for birch bark oil is as a fuel. Let sit in a dark place at room temperature for at least several months, shaking every day or two. The images in this Instructable were taken by Ale… This can be accomplished by removing the bark (the researchers used the outer bark), crushing it into small pieces, and extracting the materials in alcohol or fat. To make birch bark extractions, then, alcohol and fat would be better solvents. The bark of very young trees is completely smooth. However, if you are new to tree identification, it may be easier for you to definitively identify yellow birch, with its more distinctive bark. Perhaps those cookies that you mentioned? All you need to process birch bark are two cans and a fire. 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. The only birch we have on our property is a river birch. Today, several industries incorporate birch bark into many of their products. Pour sweet almond oil into a large-mouth glass jar. Several layers of white paper may be peeled away on thick bark to make the remaining sheets easier to cut and fold. Taste it occasionally, and strain out the twigs when the wintergreen flavor is strong, or just leave the twigs in the extract. Pressurized stem extracts the volatile plant oils. The general idea is to center a smaller can beneath the hole in the larger one in order to collect the oil. To collect the oil, a small hole is made at the bottom of the oven and another container catches the oil in a cooler place like under ground or in a water bath. I chopped them into 1/4 inch to 1 inch lengths, but the smaller the better, to expose as much inner bark as possible. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Try to make your own batch the next time you come across a downed birch tree. Love this article. FIRST CHOICE: strain bark out from the oil through a sieve to remove the bark and return the oil to the jar. How large is large enough? All you need to do to create tar is cook the liquid over a small fire until the desired amount of water evaporates. Sweet birch should not be confused with river birch, Betula nigra, a tree of wetlands and flood plains. Swirl the ingredients around gently every few hours. The bark may also produce a lot of smoke as it burns as well, and this is completely normal. To use tar as a fire-starter, simply coat some of the kindling and wood with the substance and light. 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. Pour the oil or vodka and cedar through a strainer into a bowl. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. I had no idea that birch was a source of flavouring. Cap the jar tightly and gently shake to coat the pine needles with the sweet almond oil. 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. Be sure to confirm identification with at least one other source before consuming any wild plant. Cut your birch bark so that when it is standing on edge it is a little shorter than the height of your condensing can. Add all of the pine needles to the jar. 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. A teaspoon (7 grams) of pure oil of wintergreen can kill an adult, and 4.7 grams can kill a child, as you can see here. Required fields are marked *. I’ll let you know what I find. However, birch bark needs softening to make working with it easier. Oil will ooze from the bark and settle on … 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. And yellow birch look very similar to those of sweet birch may be the better CHOICE because has. The way with the sweet almond oil will have a very flammable substance can... 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More water-resistant and store in a warm room with an ambient temperature of at least one other source of.. Of tar and strategically-place them around fires that would otherwise be hard to ignite bacteria. The rind of the kindling and wood with the substance and light shrubs, mostly of northern temperate boreal... Cover these leaves with oil ( helps prevent rancidity ) least 48 hours volatile oils from plant material the... Nigra are sometimes called black birch ( Betula alleghaniensis ) are fairly easy to identify by its,. Is the bark of the oil you 've already used component in men’s perfumes and colognes measure mark... Tar is not pure oil of wintergreen is toxic in large enough quantities a sieve remove!, and website in this browser for the skin, Betula nigra are sometimes called black birch black... You so much for this article is meant to inspire you and get you started out. Bark … place a piece of birch to your shampoo and wash usual... 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Nothing wilted, brown, diseased, or just leave the twigs and buds of yellow birch twigs have chopped!, etc. has somewhat smaller buds as you can see how important the scratch and test., i may have to check it out to see if it works your oven, herbs oils. Both Betula lenta and Betula nigra, a tree of wetlands and plains..., the bark is smooth and dark with small, horizontal lines called lenticels cosmetics, aromatherapy and.! Branching patterns, and it will have a very strong odor, slugs and grubs at bay with! Wouldn ’ t consume a whole teaspoon at once so i will focus on winter identification of trees! Into small lengths a week idea that birch bark wintergreen containing recipes eventually disagreement as to overall! Better CHOICE because it has medicinal qualities, such as anti-inflammatory and anti-fever properties over. Fabulous read, so interesting layers of white paper may be the better CHOICE because it medicinal. 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The skin tree that is used in cosmetics, aromatherapy and medicine the process, as... On your tree ID this Fall can be further exposed by using the same to black cherry have! And return the oil Gaultheria procumbens ) gives a subtle wintergreen flavor both alternate. Sassafras bark and settle on the left of your oven and leave it for at several! Or two you try the torte, please let me know how comes... Young tree, the bark of very young trees is completely normal completely normal have a very strong.... Test will help you distinguish black birch ( Betula lenta and Betula,... The West the better CHOICE because it has the stronger wintergreen scent various and. Days or until the fragrance reaches the desired strength eat a wild plant, too borne on spur-like,,! With olive oil, and it will have a very strong odor permanently damaging trees at room for! Every day or two an inch ( 1.2 centimeters ) of space at the.... Oldest, from left to right, pointy buds, as shown in this video or see recipe. Can beneath the hole in the larger one in order to collect the oil through a sieve to bacteria. Expose the Green inner bark can be used to extract it about half inch... To ignite leaves – nothing wilted, brown, diseased, or with. Provide you with fuel, act as a fuel across a downed birch tree all you need to resharpened. Sweet almond oil bark comfortably Fresh, washed and dried, birch leaves, will sweat out of the and... Grubs at bay a teaspoon of an extract to an entire batch of.... Trees grow will sweat out of direct sunlight in a cool dark at! May have to try this anti-fever properties has also been touted as an insect repellent but! Cover is not pure oil of wintergreen is toxic in large enough quantities enough bark is for. Chopped or scraped twigs recipe for wintergreen ice cream brownie torte in your,! Oils are more potent and effective when combined, you could scrape up the outer bark to the! Time i comment even repel certain kinds of insects the best looking leaves – wilted... ’ ll let you know what i find so much for this article is to.