Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recession Proof Suet

Photo credit: mensatic 

Brrrrr, is it cold out! In the blur of sprinting from the blustery parking lot, up the stairs to the heavy door promising warmth and a Riveredge welcome, I noticed a smattering of sparrows, puffed up into feathered balls. They were pecking at seeds, long forgotten under the snow. The fact that any amount of seeds can fuel such a little body to warmth is amazing to me. But no matter how efficient they are, after a few days of such bitter cold their fat reserves can be depleted.

Making homemade suet is a great way to boost up little birds’ fat reserves and gives birdwatchers hours of enjoyment. Premade suet blocks are convenient, but with this recession-worthy recipe, even the most avid watcher and count birds all winter long.

1 cup shortening

2 cups chunky peanut butter

½ cup cornmeal

½ cup flour

3 cups total of any of the following:

-Stale baked goods, crumbled (bread, cake, doughnuts, crackers, cereal, toast)

-Stale corn or tortilla chips, crushed

- leftover canned corn

-Cooked pasta

-Pizza crusts, crumbled

- nuts

-Raisins or dried fruits

1 cup Black sunflower seeds

Leftovers to avoid: Cheese, any type of potatoes, salad greens, tomatoes, and veggies (except corn). They will be shunned by the song birds but will draw starlings and crows, who find them interesting.

In a large pot over low heat, melt the shortening and peanut butter. Stir in the flour and cornmeal, then all other ingredients. Spoon the mix into a container, suet cage wrapped in aluminum foil, or mesh feeder bag. Once the mix is cool it can be hung outside for the birds to enjoy.

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