This is getting tricky: I'm trying to type this with Miles anchoring down my right arm. It's late and I haven't seen him all day, he immediately plopped himself on me when I came home and I just don't have the heart to dislodge him.
This recipe is from Fern, my MIL. Kevin, Friend to All Critters, got himself a suet holder recently and made up a batch of suet cakes. Changes from the original recipe in italics.
- 1 lb. suet or lard (Kevin used up a few fat jars he'd put aside just for this occasion; they totalled roughly 3 lb. of fat so he ended up tripling the recipe; the amounts here all refer to a single recipe)
- 1 c. crunchy peanut butter (we didn't have crunchy so he used smooth)
- 1 c. bird seed
- 2 c. yellow corn meal
- 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 c. regular or quick cook oats
- currents, raisins or blueberries nuts (Kevin added black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds)
- Melt suet or lard in slow cooker, microwave or saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Add peanut butter and stir until completely mixed. (Kevin heated the fat and peanut butter together.)
- Add bird seed, corn meal and other grains. Stir well.
- This is where you can get creative by adding any fruits, berries, nuts, crushed crackers or bread cubes. You may vary the amount of corn meal, wheat flour and oats depending on what you have available. Mixture should be thick but spreadable. Add in mix-ins and stir well.
- Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. Spread mixture evenly into pan. Place into refrigerator or freezer to cool. (Kevin used an aluminum pan which he threw away afterwards.)
- When completely cool and hard, cut into blocks 4" square or whatever size fits your suet cage. Let suet mixture stand at room temperature for a while if you are having trouble cutting it.
- Wrap individually and freeze in zip-loc bags until ready to use.
- Hang outside while frozen.
Apparently, I'm chopped liver. Miles just heard Kevin moving around downstairs and he's left me. I can't say I mind bc he had just started a serious grooming session, the kind where he really winds up in order to clean his bib...he leans his head way back, his mouth open as he extends his tongue and then tucks his chin in to lick his bib clean. This is all well and good, but his breath stinks and every time he leaned his head back it wafted upward. Oofah.
Close up of the suet cake. The seeds kinda floated to the top.
Chef Kevin with his creation:
He hung one out as soon as it was frozen, but there were no takers. I think Kevin was kinda bummed that no one was eating his suet. He does like to feed the birds and is basically a backyard birder. It seems like it took the birds a week or so to discover it. Now they go through a few cakes/week. We still have some in the freezer, but those will go quickly. He surely won't be able to keep up with demand -- fat jars fill up only so quickly -- but I think he likes having them to put out for the birds. I like to watch them enjoy it, too. Why is feeding critters so satisfying? I jokingly suggested that I could ask my co-workers and others to give us their fat jars...he seemed to find the idea not entirely ridiculous. I could post a WANTED: FAT JARS ad on craigslist. Ha! How gross would that be? And, ewww, how gross would the replies be?