Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Favorites - Making Suet Cakes

 Sunday ... and that means it is re-run time, with Sunday Favorites 

I ran this post last spring - and it is timely for this spring, as I just made a new batch of suet cakes - or as Ben calls them - Bird Toast.

Our favorite farm/feed store closed about a month ago and we've not found one we liked as well as that one - and haven't been able to find the suet blocks for our birds (and the squirrels).

Amy - over at Twelve Acres - has given me some helpful hints about keeping the deer out of the bird seed - and while talking about that and doing some research, I came across a recipe for making homemade suet blocks.

I've gotten helpful suggestions from several of you - and appreciate all of them. What I've finally decided on was to use crushed red pepper flakes in the bird seed. After some research I've found that birds can tolerate the heat of the flakes without really even feeling it - so it doesn't keep them away - but the deer will notice the heat and not come back to the seeds. We'll see how that works - so far no deer have been up near the feeders since I put in the pepper flakes - so haven't been able to test it out. They usually come around at night - so if the seeds are still there tomorrow I'll figure (and hope) that it worked.

So - back to making homemade suet blocks. The recipe came from Calloway Gardens - remember the gardens from Victory Garden?

•Melt 1 cup shortening (or lard) in a saucepan on very low heat.
•Add 1 cup peanut butter and stir until melted. (I used chunky peanut butter so they would have some nuts in there too)

Boy does this smell BAD - but keep on - it gets better. . .gag. . . cough . . . choke . . .



•To this add 1 cup plain flour and 3 cups plain cornmeal. Mix thoroughly.


•Add whole rolled oats, seeds, raisins or bread crumbs if you have any. The final consistency will be putty-like.

I also added some sunflower seeds . . .

•Pour into an old 8 inch by 8 inch pan and allow to cool.


I used an old pan - but lined it with plastic wrap too - though I don't see how this could stick to anything . . .

•Slice into quarters; each one should fit nicely into a suet cage, available at most garden centers.

•Store remaining squares in the refrigerator.


In less than an hour the suet mixture was firm and ready to cut into blocks . . . no no - those are NOT chocolate chip cookie bars . . .

And the suet cages are filled - the blocks could be a little flatter and a little wider - but this will do for now. Don has hung them up - let's wait here for the birds to come and feast . . .

Now to see how the birdies like this mixture. You can add berries too - to attract a bigger variety of birds. This was fun!!!! (after the initial shock of the peanut butter and lard melting together - ughhhh!!)

My newest batch has raisins, dried cranberries and a package of minemeat - this should keep the birds happy.

13 comments:

Crispy said...

Thanks for the re-run Jo. Happily I can still buy my cakes around here and won't have to put up with the awful smell LOL.

Crispy

Lori E said...

Great idea. I have a squirrel problem and can't put any seed out now but if ever manage to thwart their raids on my feeders I will try this.

Diann said...

Thanks for the recipe! I will have to try it.

A Garden of Threads said...

I must give it a try. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Jo Ann...

So very nice to have you for Sunday Favorites this week, my friend! What an interesting post! I must confess, I buy my suet! Hehe! I have seen a few recipes for it though. Now I'm curious as to how your birds liked it (and if the crushed red peppers worked for keeping the deer out of it? Inquiring minds want to know! wink!

Great post, my friend! Thank you so much for sharing it with us today for Sunday Favorites!!!

Warmest wishes,
Chari @Happy To Design

Lavender Cottage said...

I haven't made my own suet cakes for awhile - your recipe looks pretty nutritious.

Snappy Di said...

Those will definitely be some happy birds. We just took our feeder down to keep the bears away this spring.

It's a lovely mosaic and very worthy of a rerun this spring.

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

We have never had deer at our feeders so I cannot comment on the red pepper flakes. We make our own suet mixture from suet, bird seed, peanut butter and sometimes raisins. The birds love it. When you find out how easy it is to make it you wonder why you spent the money for them at the store. Valerie

32˙North said...

Lucky birds!

Amanda

Dena said...

As long as the birds like it... LOL

Fearless Nester said...

Wow a great new recipe to add to my grade school written "Cooking For Birds" recipes! My parrot Simon loves red peppers in his food, but if they find their way to his beak when I give him a little kiss, ouch it burns my lip! ~Lili

From the Kitchen said...

Hello! I came to you from another blog and have to say I'm amazed at your beautiful photos. I'm getting more and more into photography and have a lot to learn. I thought I'd have to get an SLR-type camera for the type of shots you do. Then I read further and realize you have a similar camera to mine. I sure don't get those beautiful shots--yet. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.

Best,
Bonnie

Anne Yarbrough said...

We just realized that an old bait container from a washed-up lobster trap will make a suet feeder. So I was supposed to look for a suet recipe. Thanks.