Monday, May 7, 2012

Homemade Suet Cakes

All of a sudden the bird calls fill the air.  The bird activity is so great, you wonder why they don't run into each other while flying. Maybe they have their own highway system and driving rules; such as,  fly on the right side of the air path and dip the wing for a right turn blinker. They are busy making nests and preparing to produce little carbon copies of themselves. For this, they need lots of energy which can be found in homemade suet cakes.
Buying suet cakes to keep up with these hungry little guys can be expensive. I've found several home made suet cake recipes that I will be sharing.  It's fun and easy.
Many recipes call for rendered suet which just means that you should heat it over low heat and pour through a strainer or cloth to make sure there are no meat particles left behind.  You can purchase the suet at your meat market or butcher shop.  Sometimes it has been rendered for you.
You can add some seeds from your last year's vegetable garden.  Dry them well first and save them in a baggie in the refrigerator to keep them fresh until your are ready for the next year's use, if you are not planning on using them right away. Or buy seeds in bulk at your local farm store.

2 c. rendered suet
(use all or any combination of the following seeds, but keep the total amount equal in order to take up the bulk)
1/2 c. hulled sunflower seed
1/2 c. flax seed
1/2 c. cantaloupe or watermelon seeds
1/2 c.safflower seeds
1/2 c. thistle seeds
1/2 c. pumpkin or squash seeds

Melt the suet in a saucepan over low heat.  Allow it to cool thoroughly, and then reheat it.  Mix the seeds together in a large bowl.  Allow the suet to cool until slightly thickened, and then stir it into the mixture in the bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  Cool until you can handle it.  Shape into cakes that will fit in your feeder or press into chosen molds ( I saved the plastic mold from purchased cakes I had used previously) Refrigerate until hard.  Serve and keep remainder in a marked bag in the freezer.

You can also mold these into a ball shape and drop into a mesh onion bag you have saved.  It's a great way to re-purpose items. Tie the bag tightly on both ends before hanging in a tree. Some birds love to cling to the side of the bag while it swings gently in the tree.
Now get busy, make your own suet cakes, your feathered friends will thank you.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

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