Hi everyone! No, this is not a recipe post for cakes, unless you happen to be a bird, because they love these suet cakes. They are not even cakes really, just flat chunks of suet. As mentioned yesterday, suet is often not translated into other languages through the Google translator, so when I use the word suet when talking about my birds people might not know what I am talking about. Suet is ‘suif’ in French, sugna or talg in Italian, camurca or sebo in Portuguese (Portugal) and schweineschmalz in German. But many languages didn’t seem to have a translation for it.
But suet is simply pork fat which is also used to make pure lard. So if you don’t have a word for suet, try looking up those other alternatives. I use pure lard for my suet cakes, mixed with peanut butter, sometimes adding sunflower seeds to the mixture, but not always since there is sunflower seeds available for the birds on the feeders anyway. Some people mix in oats, flour, raisins, sugar or honey into the suet cakes. Personally I am not in favor of using sugar for the birds, though it can give a sudden rush in energy, it is bad for them in the long run, and they just don’t need it.
I use a small pot that is just big enough to make two suet cakes, using 1 pound of lard and a large spoonful of peanut butter.
Do not use too much peanut butter as that can cause choking in some birds. The amount I use is just right. I also found that if there is too much peanut butter then some birds will not eat it. The peanut butter is good though as it gives the birds extra energy and nutrients for our cold winters.
I cut the lard into cubes so it melts faster, but it is not necessary. Melt on low heat until the lard and peanut butter is melted nicely, then set aside to cool. If adding other ingredients, I do so once the mixture has cooled to room temperature.
Then I put it in a plastic tub which is just the right size for the suet cages. Unfortunately I do not have a square container that is the right size, you just have to find something that fits. The mixture will fill the tub to just over one inch (3cm) deep which is just right for the cages.
Then I put it in the freezer until solid, turn the tub upside down, push on the bottom and the suet cake pops out nicely.
Now it can be put in the cage and the end result is happy birds. This is a very simple recipe and takes very little time to make.
However, with suet it is important for it to stay frozen or it will become rancid, meaning it goes bad and is not good for the birds. Lard will last longer, without going bad, than regular suet, but will melt as days get warmer. So it is not good for warmer climates. I have tried the store bought suet cakes and mine side by side and the birds will eat mine first. Birds know best! Thanks to Rossana for encouraging me to do this post! Have a great day everyone and God bless!
Steve and Muffin.
©2021 Steve McLeod.