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Old 12-12-2008, 08:20 PM   #1
Unicellular Fungi
 
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Default There is a chill in the air- it's suet making time

Thanksgiving is past and the air is cold. Time to make suet.

Ingredients-
beef suet/lard/shortening
cornmeal
peanut butter
raisins
sunflower seeds
safflower seed
unsalted peanuts
Quaker oats

I melt down the beef suet in a 15 gallon stock pot. If you ask the man at the meat counter to set it aside for you, they generally will so you can stock pile it in your freezer until you have enough to make a generous batch. Who wants to eat fat anyway so there is no market for it? If I have any lard or shortening left over from baking for the holiday season, I toss that in also. Once it starts cooling and solidifying a little bit I toss in cornmeal and mix that in well. From there I add big generic tubs of Peanut Butter (unsalted or generic with less sodium)- what ever is on sale because the birds do not care. To this mix I add in some raisins, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and unsalted peanuts. I generally add Quaker Oats.

That is it. Every once in a while if somebody gifts us a fruit cake (you know those things you can use as door stops), I stick that in water and pick out all the fruit chunks and toss those in my mix.

I have been pouring the mix into forms that fit perfectly into my wire suet baskets but sometimes I pour out a big wad and stick it in a ziplock. I can always get those to fit in empty onion mesh bags to hang on shepherds hooks outside. A few times we used knives and spread left-over mix into pine cones but that was pretty messy and then you have to tie yarn to the cones to be able to hang them.

Last year I used food storage containers as forms. The ones that are the size that would accommodate a sandwich. Those worked well enough and I only poured in enough of the mix to keep the size just right to fit into the wire suet baskets. I have about 100 of them now so they are re-usable from year to year.

This particular suet recipe deters the English house sparrows and European starlings so they can't out compete our native song birds. There is no cheap filler seed in this recipe.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:21 PM   #2
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That is great, thanks for sharing
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:28 PM   #3
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I just buy ten pounds of beef suet from the butcher every fall and cut it into chunks that fit in my feeders.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:32 PM   #4
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Typical male although it works to help the birds survive.
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Old 12-13-2008, 01:47 AM   #5
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Is there an alternate recipe that vegetarians could make or a good commercial source for premade cakes that don't include fillers?

I have a no red meat rule in the kitchen so I can't make this up myself.
Also how do you get the squirrels to leave them alone?
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:55 AM   #6
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Thanks, I will be getting busy to feed the winter birds.
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Old 12-13-2008, 09:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Is there an alternate recipe that vegetarians could make or a good commercial source for premade cakes that don't include fillers?
Wonderful you asked that question as there are quite a few vegetarians here. You may totally eliminate the beef suet or lard from the recipe. Use vegetable shortening. I think the brand I use is Crisco however any vegetable shortening should work. Suet recipes are a lot like goulash recipes. Have more peanuts than sunflower seeds, no biggie, just toss in what you do have. Have egg shells laying around; rinse them well, stick them in a ziplock baggie, pulverize them with a hammer, add those to your suet also. While eggshells are a source of calcium, they are probably more beneficial to birds as grit to help them digest their food. If you do not have raisins, make it without them. Have left over walnuts or pecans from baking cookies, toss them in. Any nut meats that aren't salted are fine. I have added pistachios before. One ingredient that I have found you can not do without would be the cornmeal.

Try your best to remember to steer clear of adding any salt to your suet.

I bought ready made suet from WalMart before. I really should have mentioned to save all of those little plastic trays so you can re-use them as forms when you make your own suet.

We buy milk in 1 gallon jugs but this gal came up with an ideal way to make suet that will fit into our store bought wire baskets-
http://nwbirding.com/backyard/Suet.html

If you are making big batches, stick your spares in the freezer so they don't go rancid.

How to get squirrels to leave them alone? When you learn the answer to this let me know. I've added red cayenne pepper to my recipe and that didn't work. Ended up hanging the suet high up on a pole above a squirrel baffle. That worked until we saw the squirrels walking out onto limbs that bowed down from their weight after which they leaped about 6' onto the top of the bird feeder quite successfully avoiding the squirrel baffle. We cut that limb off the tree this past year since that bird feeder was set in concrete. I'm sure the squirrels will come up with some way to get to the suet again this year. They're quite resourceful and spend all summer plotting and planning how to get to suet te enrage us.
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:19 AM   #8
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This is my setup. No squirrel problems at all. They do better in the woods than at my place and they can't get to my feeders. I'm going to replace the Roller Feeders with something else. They are squirrel proof, but they are not attractive to any birds other than an occasional finch or chickadee. Using long pieces of thin speaker wire from small branches beats squirrels. I have a twelve foot ladder to get up high enough to get wires attached and still have to toss wire with a slip knot over a branch to achieve my goal. The branch has to be thin enough to keep squirrels from going "out on a limb" and jumping, but strong enough to carry the load of the feeder. Tube feeders and a wire sunflower seed feeder are on a pole that seems to be enough of a challenge to keep the buggers away.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:39 PM   #9
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I have a 22 pistol that solves the squirrel problem and I'm not a vegetarian. Squirrel stew is good eatin
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:31 PM   #10
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I am told many Americans ate squirrel and pigeon as well as cat, dog, and horse during the Great Depression.

I am not a vegetarian either. We do not eat a lot of red meat but that's more so because it is not all that healthy and we seem to prefer poultry and fish. I would be interested in a squirrel stew recipe. For as much trouble as our squirrels cause around here, we are attached to them and would not add them to our stew kettle but I would take any offered to me and would certainly try your stew. I am going to have to talk to my husband about this however I think he had a room mate in college who shot squirrels and fried them n his dorm room. Then there was another person I knew who shot them on campus. They started them in a slow cooker in the morning so they would be ready by the time she was done with classes. Amazing what kids will do when they have blown the money they should have been using to buy meal tickets for the cafeteria.

If you come up with that squirrel stew recipe, would you please start a thread in recipes and I will add to it if I can.
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