Show your feathered friends some love during these cold winter days by making them some homemade suet cakes.
This has been quite a winter. Storm after storm has plagued the Northeast for weeks. And now here in the D.C. area, where I live, we’re getting whopped with the white stuff after days of bitter cold temps. (I have to confess – I LOVE IT!)
I’m very good to the birds who nest near my home all year long, but when the weather gets to be this cold and this snowy, I do worry. So like all good tree-snugglers, I give my feathered friends a little something extra in the winter. Homemade suet cakes are easy and inexpensive to make. And not only is it a special treat for the birds, but it’ll provide them with that extra bump of nutrition and fat they need during these bitterly cold months.
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening or lard
- ¼ cup unsalted peanut butter
- ½ cup birdseed
- handful of dried fruit (optional)
How to put it together:
1. Combine shortening and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
2. Heat in microwave for 20-30 seconds.
3. Mix in birdseed and dried fruit.
4. Pour into molds. Since Valentine’s Day was a few days ago, I happen to have heart-shaped molds around. And I actually think heart-shaped suet makes a sweet gift for the birds. But y0u can use anything you want. Muffin tins work great. And empty tuna cans also work well. Just remember to grease them with a little shortening first.
5. Let them cool in the fridge or outside (if it’s cold enough) until they harden up. This should take 2-4 hours.
6. Pope them out of the molds. Usually, they come out easily. But you can run a knife along the sides to make sure.
7. Place your suet cakes inside a suet cage. If you don’t have a suet cage, you can also put them on a tree stump or branch.
Trust me, the birds will find these suet cakes! The squirrels probably will too.