Black Birch Tea Recipe

This Black Birch Tea Recipe uses food foraged from the wild to make this soothing hot tea.
By James L. Churchill
March/April 1971
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Use birch tree twigs to make this Black Birch Tea Recipe. Black birch can be identified by the wintergreen flavor found within its twigs.
Photo by Fotolia/Vadzim Kandratsenkau

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Learn how to make this Black Birch Tea Recipe using food foraged from the wild.

Black Birch Tea Recipe

Black birch makes the best tea. The black birch is a medium size tree that seldom grows more than two feet in diameter or reaches a height of 60 feet. Its leaves and twigs look much like the white or paper birch except the bark is very dark red to black. In summer a difference can be noted in the leaves: Those of the black birch are hairy underneath and slightly more oblong than those of the white birch. The real clue to identification however is the wintergreen flavor found in the twigs. The yellow birch (Betula Alleghaniensis) has wintergreen-flavored twigs also, but the black birch has a stronger-flavored oil that makes a hearty tea with less effort.

Brew birch tea by cutting about a quart of twigs into one-inch pieces. Place in a suitable pan and pour hot (but not boiling) water over them. Let the mixture steep until it's cool and strain the twigs and impurities from the water with a tea strainer. Heat again and serve warm with milk and a dash of honey.

I tried this recipe with wild honey that Joe Cummings of Bernardston, Massachusetts sent me and it was dang good. Joe is quite a fellow. One of the last of the professional bee hunters. If you want some genuine wild honey write to Joe at Hucklehill, Bernardston, Massachusetts, 01337 and I'm sure he'll take care of you.

Read more about wild food recipes and preparation: Foraging for Wild Foods in Winter.

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