You’d be surprised at how many foods can be taken directly from their natural sources with little or even no processing. Everyone knows that the average bottle of syrup you drizzle over your pancakes originated in trees. But is it significantly different from its source?
We’ll be diving into the sticky background of tree sap, discussing what tree sap tastes like. Additionally, we'll answer other questions people often ask about it. Let’s take a closer look…
What Does Tree Sap Taste Like?
Unsurprisingly, the taste of tree sap largely depends on which tree the sap comes from. The maple syrup that we all know and love is made from the sugar maple tree, for example.
Sap from the sugar maple tree has a subtly sweet taste by itself with a hint of a woody flavor. This is due to the fact the syrup has the largest amount of sugar of common sap varieties. It’s most commonly used because it’s the simplest type of syrup to sell on a massive scale.
However, you can get sap for syrup from other trees. Birch syrup has been popular in Scandinavian countries for centuries. You can also eat the sap from other kinds of maple trees.
Read Also: What Does Maple Syrup Taste Like?
Can You Drink Sap Straight from the Tree?
You might be wondering if you can just walk up to any tree and drink sap from it. The answer is that yes, you technically can drink sap right from the tree.
The issue with doing this is that there’s always the possibility of bacteria being in the sap on a tree once it’s been exposed to the air. You wouldn’t eat something right off the ground from outside without washing it first, and a similar concept is applicable to tree sap.
Pasteurizing the sap first can make it safer to drink. We’d recommend doing it as a precaution.
What Happens if You Drink Tree Sap?
As we mentioned above, you can drink tree sap. It may be slightly waterier than the syrup you’re used to getting from the grocery store, but it’s otherwise not going to cause any ill effects.
There is the possibility you could get sick from bacteria in the sap if you’re drinking it right off the bark of the tree. This is why we suggest drinking pasteurized syrup, so you can be certain that it’s not going to make you sick.
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What Tree Sap is Poisonous?
There are some trees that produce poisonous sap. One example is the manchineel tree, which produces a sap that causes blisters if you touch it.
In fact, the tree is so poisonous, you can’t even take shelter under its branches in the rain. This blistering sap is present in all parts of the tree, and water dripping down the leaves can irritate your skin.
The good news is that this tree can only be found in a handful of places, like Florida, the Caribbean, coastal beaches, Central America, and South America. Just to be safe, though, make sure you confirm what kind of tree you’re looking at before you drink sap from it.
What Does Pine Sap Taste Like?
The next time you’re out for a walk in the woods and you see sap dripping from a pine tree, should you stop and give it a try? After all, pine sap smells pretty good, so it must surely taste the same, right?
Honestly, that will depend on your palate, but there are plenty of reports of pine sap tasting unappetizing. It has a powerful, overwhelming chemically taste and is actually often used to make turpentine.
In other words, it’s probably better if you just enjoy the way pine sap smells rather than drinking any of it the next time you see it glistening on a pine tree.
Want to know what other parts of trees taste like? Read our post about what hearts of palm taste like to learn more.
Tree sap can be a delicious and natural treat depending on the tree you get it from. To be cautious, we suggest pasteurizing the sap to protect you from the possibility of getting sick, though. Furthermore, we would also suggest that you confirm which tree you’re getting the sap from so you can be sure it’s totally safe and even determine what it might taste like ahead of time.