Suet is so easy to make, and its a great interactive activity to do with kids!
mmmm.... look at that sheen... ;)
When you are pressing your mix into the pans, use a square of parchment to save your hands some grief. And when you are lining your cookie sheets, let your parchment hang over on all sides to act as a bowl to catch the liquid fats until they solidify. you don't want them sneaking between your parchment and your cookie sheets. Then your suet is fused to your cookie sheet for good! ;)
You can also tell in this photo how much excess parchment I had on each side. The sheet of suit comes right off the pan once it's frozen.
To use them simply unwrap, and pop into your suet cages. You can buy these cages almost anywhere, including dollar stores, Walmart, Canadian tire etc... You can hang them from your house in front of windows, or off trees etc... somewhere higher up, where they aren't going to be enjoyed by other wildlife save the occasional squirrel who cant fully get their grubby paws in there. (yes, that photo was last years suets. Not as much to enjoy as this years! And you can see all the little millet seeds in there too.)
As I promised earlier, here's the recipe of what I did this year. I made a double recipe of this to get 54 suet bricks.
Bird Suet Recipe 2018
· 2 cups coconut oil
· 2-3 bricks of lard (tenderflake or no name brand. Not shortening)
· 10 cups black oil sunflower seeds (found in pet section with other bird seeds)
· 1 ½ cup raw or unsalted peanuts (walmart “joes tasty travels” is very cheap)
· 2 cups brown flaxseeds (walmart “joes tasty travels” is very cheap)
· 1 ½ cups chia seeds
· 2 cups unsweetned coconut shreds/flakes etc..
· 2 ½ cups organic raisins (half of one of the costco bags in the 2-pack boxes)
· 8 cups frozen blueberries (Half a costco bag)
· 1.5-2 apples PEELED and chopped finely (peel has pesticides that can harm birds)
Combine 2 cups coconut oil, and 2 bricks of lard in a pot and heat over low-medium heat, stirring until melted.
In an extra-extra large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except apples and blueberries. Stir well. You must use organic raisins because conventional ones may contain pesticides designed specifically to eliminate pesky birds in farmer vineyards. This is the same logic in peeling your apples.
Toss in apples and stir in.
Next pour in your melted oils and stir well to combine.
Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment, being generous to have over-hang over the edges of your pan, to act as a sort of bowl-like feature to contain liquid oils till they solidify. You don’t want these creeping under your parchment, fusing your suet block to your cookie sheet!!
AFTER your cookie sheets are lined, add your frozen blueberries to your suet mixture and stir quickly.
Quickly pour mixture into the 3 cookie sheets. Filling two generously, and dumping remainder into the third sheet (it will only be filled about ¼-1/3 of the way). Use another square of parchment to press the mixture down tightly into all the corners of the cookie sheet so it is very full.
If you work too slowly, the cold from your blueberries will harden your fats too soon, and you’ll be squishing seeds and solid fats into the sheet. The odds of your mix fusing into one solid brick is much lower when this happens.
If you mix does cool too soon, simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake each sheet for about 2.5 minutes. Remove from oven, and let sit on stove top another minute for warmth to penetrate to the center. Then use your extra square of parchment, to press and flatten the tops again now that the oils have melted.
If desired, melt down a third brick of lard, and drizzle evenly over the tops of the finished cookie sheets, filling in any cracks between seeds with more suet fats for those little birdies.
Cover sheets in saran wrap, and let cool on your counter until the fats are all solidified. About 4-6 hours. If your mix is not setting, place these in the fridge for another 20-30 minutes. You don’t want to freeze these yet.
Once fats are mostly set, use a butter knife, edge of a cutting board or something else you prefer to make deep score lines separating your sheet into individual bricks.
Break sheet apart on it’s score-lines, and wrap each square individually in saran wrap. Store all suets in freezer bags in the freezer until use. These are good beginning in cool fall weather, and continuing through cool spring weather. Once things begin to warm up, the fats will melt and start to drip. So these are strictly for use in cool weather for winter birds like chickadees, cardinals, bluejays etc…