Insect-eating birds, such as woodpeckers, cardinals, chickadees, wrens, juncos, blue jays, and nuthatches, can have trouble finding food during winter. Consequently, it’s a good idea to provide these birds with a feeder that offers high-energy suet to eat. The recipe below makes enough suet to fill multiple feeders. You can either gift the extra decorative bird feeders to your friends or freeze them to use later.
cookie cutters, at least one inch thick
string, cut to eight inch lengths
wax or parchment paper
2 cups beef fat or lard
2 cups cornmeal, ground
1 cups peanut butter, chunky
chopped unsalted peanuts, raisins, dried cranberries or birdseed (optional additions)
1. Render the beef fat or melt the lard. To render the fat, chop it into small pieces. Next, heat and stir the small pieces of fat in a saucepan on low heat, until it liquefies. Lastly, strain the liquid fat several times through fine mesh to remove particles.
2. Now combine the remaining ingredients together with the fat or lard in a saucepan. If needed, turn on low heat to mix well.
3. Arrange the cookie cutters on a baking sheet that is lined with wax or parchment paper. Slide a length of string through the cookie cutter and tie a knot to create a hanger. Note: If you
prefer to remove the cookie cutter before hanging the suet cake,
then don’t tie the knot in the string yet. Instead, you will tie the
string after the suet hardens and you remove the cookie cutter (after step
4. Next, carefully pour the suet mixture inside each of the cookie cutters. Fill each cookie cutter to the brim with suet.
5. Slide the baking sheet into the refrigerator or freezer to cool and harden the suet.
6. Once hardened, securely attach the suet cakes to a tree outside. The types of birds that feed on suet tend to naturally cling to tree bark, so the feeder should be hung close to the trunk. To protect birds from predators, it’s best to suspend the feeder at least five feet above the ground.
7. Your extra suet cakes can remain in the freezer until you’re ready to hang them outside.