Wild Foodies of Philly
In search of the food beneath our feet!
WILD EDIBLE "TREES"
“LEAVES & NEEDLES”
EMPRESS TREE – leaves, must cook
MULBERRY TREE - 3
leaf shapes, more lobed when young
HEMLOCK - but NOT yew bush needles!
Caution: some leafs may only be edible when young or cooked
EVERGREEN TIPS, NEEDLES, & TEAS Caution: Do not mistake for toxic Yew evergreens: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus_baccata
EDIBLE INNER TREE BARK (CAMBIUM)
TREE NUTS & PLANT LIST BY EDIBLE PART
TAPPING TREES FOR
SUGAR WATER >>>
Maple (Sugar, Black, Red, & Silver), Birch, Hickory, Sycamore, Walnut, & Ash. Need access to one mature tree (at least 12 inches in diameter)
VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE FROM: http://www.judyofthewoods.net/forage/tree_sap.html
TREE SAP SOURCES:
Maple Family (including Boxelder & Gorosoe)
Walnut (black, white/butternut, English, & Japanese/heartnut)
Birch Family (including Ironwood/hophornbeam)
The sugar maple yields the highest volume and concentration of sap, making it a superior candidate for tapping. Its sugar content is approximately 2.0%.
Black maples produce as much sweet sap as sugar maples. The trees closely resemble sugar maples and can be distinguished by their leaves. Black maples tend to have leaves with three major lobes, while leaves from sugar maples have five lobes.
Sap yields from red maples are generally lower than those from sugar maples, although some tapping operations utilize only red maples. The trees bud out earlier in the spring, which may reduce syrup quality near the end of sugaring season.
Silver maple (Acer
Like red maples, silver maples bud out earlier in the spring and have a lower sugar content than sugar maples (1.7% compared to 2.0%).
Norway maple (Acer
Native to Europe, Norway maples are now considered invasive throughout much of the United Sates. They are not as sweet as sugar maples, yet can be tapped regardless.
Also known as Manitoba maple, boxelders can be found growing in urban areas and along roadsides. They’re not recommended as a first choice for sugar production, although maple producers in the Canadian prairies rely almost exclusively on boxelders for their sap. Research suggests that boxelders may yield only half the syrup of typical sugar maples.
Bigleaf maple (Acer
Bigleaf maple is the main species of maple growing between central California and British Columbia. Native Americans have tapped these trees for centuries, and although the sugar content and sap flow are less than those from sugar maples, these trees can still provide a commercially viable source of syrup for the Pacific Coast.
Canyon maple, big tooth maple (Acer
These trees are found primarily throughout the Rocky Mountain states. They also grow in Texas, where they are referred to as Uvalde bigtooth maples. The sugar content is comparable to that of sugar maples, but the volume produced is much less.
Mountain maple (Acer
Rocky Mountain maples are native to western North America, and have been used traditionally by various groups, including the Plateau Natives.
Gorosoe, which translates to “The tree that is good for the bones,” is the most commonly tapped maple tree in Korea. The sap is usually consumed fresh as a beverage, and not boiled down to a syrup.
Butternut, white walnut (Juglans
The butternut produces a sap that yields roughly 2% sugar – similar to sugar maples. The timing and total volume of sap are also comparable to sugar maples.
The black walnut tree is a valuable timber species, whose sap flows in autumn, winter, and spring. It is more common in the Midwest than in the Northeastern United States.
A cultivar of Japanese walnuts, heartnuts have sugar contents comparable to sugar maples, but produce much less sap.
English walnut (Juglans
These are the walnuts commonly eaten and purchased from supermarkets. They are not typically found in the Eastern United States, but rather are grown most abundantly in California. English walnut trees can be tapped successfully, especially when subjected to a freezing winter and spring.
The paper birch has a lower sugar content than sugar maple (less than 1%), but is the sweetest of the birch trees.
Yellow birch (Betula
The yellow birch tree has been found to have a higher mineral composition, lower sugar content, and a higher ORAC value (measure of antioxidant capacity) than sugar maple.
Native to eastern North America, black birch is most popular for its use in making birch beer. And, as this list suggests, the black birch can be tapped.
Found growing abundantly in the southeastern United States, and planted as an ornamental in the Northeast, the river birch can successfully be tapped.
Gray birch is more of a shrub than a tree, but may be tapped if it grows large enough.
European white birch (Betula
Native to Europe, and grown as an ornamental in urban and suburban areas of the United States, European white birch can be tapped.
Native to North America, the sycamore tree has a lower sugar content than sugar maple, yet is reported to produce a syrup that exudes a butterscotch flavor.
Ironwood, hophornbeam (Ostrya
These trees produce a sap later in the spring, although the sugar content and volume are much less than those from birch trees.
And there you have it – a list of 22 trees that can be tapped. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as other trees surely produce a sap that can be extracted through tapping. It is, however, a good representation of the most commonly tapped trees, including those that have been used traditionally for centuries, and some that are just recently gaining in popularity.