Easy suet recipe for your backyard friends
As many of you know, I love watching the birds eat suet in my backyard but I’m on a quest to reduce packaging as conveniently as I’m able. To that end, I made my own suet this morning.
I told myself that I’d use up all the suet I’d purchased, save the plastic #1 trays they came in and use them as molds to make my own suet. I figured it couldn’t be difficult and, after a quick internet search, I was proved correct.
Wednesday all the nasty starlings had devoured the last of the suet so today was the day to tackle my experiment. Well, it’d have been better to do it on Tuesday or Wednesday so that the gorgeous and powerful Flicker that’s hanging on the suet feeder right now would actually have breakfast. Stinkin’ starlings. I just can’t stand those birds.
I digress. So, I took a large stock pot, emptied the contents of a 48 ounce container of vegetable shortening, added eight cups of critter feed that I bought in the bulk section of Winco and, voila, I have 12 suet cakes hardening as we speak.
Typically animal fat is used in commercially-made suet but, being a vegetarian, I didn’t want to make my own suet that way. Hopefully, fat is fat in the bird world. Maybe I’ll get lucky and Starlings are pickier than Flickers, Downy Woodpeckers and Blue Jays. I doubt that’s the case but one can dream.
This home-made suet cost $5.00 which is less expensive than in the store but it was also an easy project, saved on packaging and I think they might make nice Christmas gifts for my bird-loving friends. We’ll see.
Home made Suet
1-48 oz container of vegetable shortening (or lard, if you prefer)
8 C critter feed (mine had corn kernels, peanuts, black sunflower seeds)**
In a large stock pot, scoop entire contents of vegetable shortening container. Turn the burner to medium and let the shortening melt slowly. Add 8 cups of critter feed and stir until well incorporated (the heavier seed will sink to the bottom).
Place suet molds on a towel or cutting board. I wouldn’t recommend placing hot things directly on a counter top. Bring the stock pot to the molds and set it on a thick oven mit or towel. Using a soup ladle, fill each mold to ¾ full or desired amount. Be sure to mix up the melted suet so you have the heavier seed in with every mold. When you’re finished, you can carefully transfer to the freezer to set up faster or leave on a counter to set up which will take longer.
Note: I filled 12 molds this first time around but 10 would’ve been fuller so that’s what I’ll do next time.
**You can add whatever you want to this recipe. Ideas: peanut butter, nyjer, dried fruit (chopped), ground cornmeal, honey.