Brigitte took these photos of me making suet last night
Here in northern California it can get really hot in July and August. We’re talking sometimes over 115 degrees! So I began making my own “no melt suet” and the birds absolutely LOVE it!
Sure I have put out the store bought stuff and they will eat it. But I have to tell you, if I put out a store bought suet cake and one of mine at the same time, the birds will go through 3 or 4 of my suet cakes before the store bought one is anywhere near gone.
So, I thought all of you might want my recipe along with a couple of tips on how I make my suet so you can have birds pecking your door down and screaming at you to fill up the suet feeder when it’s empty.
My first secret is to use actual suet. This is not necessary as you can simply use lard for your suet, however, I have found that the birds like the real thing better. I go to the meat department in my local grocery store and ask for the suet. They always have plenty of fat that they trim off their beef and it always has some meat attached to it also. I put it through a meat grinder, several pounds at a time, then freeze what I don’t use immediately. I divide the ground suet into 2 cup portions, seal them in bags and freeze.
If you want to you can mix 1/2 suet and 1/2 lard for this recipe:
1 cup suet or lard
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 cups “quick cook” oatmeal
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
If you want to you can throw in some ground nuts also (another secret that keeps the birds coming back for more). This is pretty easy to make but I usually triple (at least) the recipe so I don’t have to make it every few weeks and it stores very well in the freezer.
Melt the suet and peanut butter in a large pot. Stir in the remaining ingredients, a couple of cups at a time. The mix should be the consistancy of cookie dough. If it’s too runny, add more flour. Spoon it into suet trays (I keep trays from store bought suet) or a shallow pyrex baking dish that you can cut into squares after refrigerating.
Press the dough down into the forms to remove all the air and you have a solid suet cake. If you are going to use some right away, place it in the refrigerator until solid and freeze the rest sealed in plastic.
That’s it! No melt suet that will stand 115 degree temperatures in the summer. If you can, use real suet, add some fresh ground nuts to the mix and the birds won’t leave you alone! Enjoy.