for the birds: growing grace farm’s bird suet

Since it’s taken this long to get our first real snow around here, I celebrated by opening a batch of our canned mulled apple cider and sipping on it as I made this special treat for the birds tomorrow.  I’m hoping I’ll catch a glimpse or two of our blue birds–they can’t seem to resist our suet.  I’m reposting the recipe for all the bird lovers–remember, that fresh snow will cover what the ground feeders might typically eat. ~cameron

This morning, we are lazing on the couch for a bit before beginning out day.  It has been rainy, cloudy, and cool for two days now, and I can hear the leaves rustle outside the kitchen as the birds scratch around for more feed.  At this time of year, most people buy Crisco for pie crusts and fried turkeys, but I’m stocking up on it for our homemade bird suet.

One of my favorite activities is to put a bunch of seed and suet out for the birds, make a big cup of green tea, then sit on my little red stool by the back door and watch the morning feeding time.  It’s amazing the birds you will attract with homemade suet.  I have a pileated woodpecker about 18 inches long who will swoop in and eat until he can’t fly–he barely makes it over to another tree then hops his way up it until he can tiptoe across a branch into his hole, settling in for a nice nap, I’m sure!

Growing Grace Farm’s Recipe for Homemade Suet

Key point:  do not add too much peanut butter as it can clog the throats of birds

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt a canister of vegetable shortening (I never use animal shortening).  Add two heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter.  Stir until completely melted and blended.  Remove from burner.

Let cool until begins to thicken.  Add 3-4 cups of bird seed.pileated woodpecker

Using plastic containers from your recycling bin, pour melted suet mixture into containers.  NOTE:  Allow mixture to cool a bit before pouring into plastic containers (yes, I learned my lesson the hard way a few years ago). Stir a bit to incorporate seed.  I typically use 4-5 containers filled 3/4 full.

Place in freezer until completely solid.  Remove containers as you need them for birds.

Twist container until the suet pops out.  Hang/put outside in feeder.

Sometimes, if the shortening/peanut butter mixture is a bit warm upon placing in freezer, I will go back and stir one more time after about 20 minutes when it has begun to thicken.  This final stir will ensure that seed is mixed all the way through and not just on the bottom.

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