From the outside, birch sap is a plain transparent liquid. It would be difficult to tell apart a glass of water and a glass of birch sap which is almost the same even by taste. Birch sap has a bit sweet flavour. However, the chemical content of the latter is way richer. It features a long list of micro- and macrominerals, as well as a range of vitamins. It's said to cure different wounds, eliminate acne, lower blood pressure, clear stomach, and generally strengthen the immune system. Therefore, as soon as the snow has melted in the forest, Ukrainians hurry up to take the best birch trees.
The cleaner the grounds are, the better and sweeter the sap. So the gatherers look for remote and pristine areas. The diameter of the trunk also matters—thin young trees give less sap. Besides, they are more vulnerable, so only one trunk hole is allowed. The holes are made with a drill or knife, at least 20 cm above the ground. The sap flows through a hand-made pipe or a kind of a gutter stuck into the hole. A vessel is put below, and a drop by a drop it's filled with this sanative drink.
The season of birch sap may slightly differ from year to year but mostly it's early spring, particularly mid-March to early April. By the way, in Ukrainian language, the month of March has got its name "berezen" from the name of this wonderful tree—bereza, and the birch sap is called berezovyi sik.
So, during this short season, you may ask locals for a glass of fresh birch sap, the healthiest spring drink. However, when not preserved, it soon starts brewing. Therefore, people make a variety of preservations, adding mostly the citric, or dried fruit, sometimes also barley, and other natural supplements. Such birch sap preservations are enjoyed in wintertime.