That time of year is upon us again: when Icelandic birch trees will be tapped for the delicious and purportedly healthy juice therein.
RÚV reports that birch tapping has begun in Vaglaskógur forest. Forty trees will be tapped, and are expected to yield dozens of litres of birch juice.
While the chosen trees are considered large and healthy enough to be tapped, the harvesting of their juice depends largely on the weather remaining relatively warm. If temperatures drop, tapping will be put on hold, but otherwise the process should extend over the next two weeks.
Last year, birch trees tapped in Hallormsstaður yielded some 2000 litres of birch juice. In the wake of this success, the Icelandic Forest Service has decided to expand on the project.
Birch juice, whether imbibed fresh or after it has been boiled down to a syrup, is purported to be an analgesic and diuretic. It is, however, indisputably sweet, and is used in the production of birch beer.