This is my first tutorial, so hopefully I will explain it fully!
I know this seems like a lot of work, but I feel it is so worth it. I can put out a purchased suet cake and it will take 3-4 weeks for my birds to eat it, just a bunch of suet in it, no nutritional goodies for them, and they obviously don't like them. Putting one of my suet cakes out, it will be gone in 2-3 days. I have a huge variety of birds that come to eat from the feeders and the suet holders. Making a double batch is so much better than making a single batch, I get eight cakes instead of four.
I have other recipes that I use that call for peanut butter, bird seed, black oiled sunflower seeds, and other ingredients, this recipe is one of my favorites.
Happy bird watching!
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Step 1: Supplies
A measuring cup, a sharp knife for chopping, a cutting board, a sauce pan to melt the lard in, a 9"x9" cake pan lined with parchment paper or four bird suet forms, a large mixing bowl, and a large metal spoon to stir. My forms were from bird suet that I purchased last winter.
Step 2: Ingredients
1 cup chopped nuts-I used English Walnuts, you can use peanuts/almonds, etc.
1 cup chopped dried fruit-I used dried cherries, birds also like dried blueberries and dried cranberries
1/2 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup oatmeal-I used Quick Oats, or you can use one cup of corn meal. If using corn meal do not use corn meal mix.
1 1/2 pounds of lard or beef tallow- 1 1/2 pounds of lard is equal to 3 cups
Mix the chopped nuts, chopped dried fruit, the oatmeal and the sunflower seeds in a large bowl.
Step 3: Directions
Add the lard to your sauce pan on low heat, or in my case I used my electric pressure cooker on the saute function. Once all of the lard is melted, remove your pan from heat source. Stir in your bowl of dry ingredients. Wait until the lard is lukewarm before pouring it into the plastic suet forms or the parchment lined 9"x9" cake pan. I normally use a parchment lined cake pan, but I did not have enough parchment paper, so I opted for using my old suet forms. Since I used the plastic suet forms, I used a large metal slotted spoon and divided the nut and fruit mixture into the four suet containers. Then I divided the lard up into the four suet containers using my non-slotted large metal spoon. When the lard became completely cloudy I know that it is cool enough that it is starting to go back to it's original form, then I use a teaspoon and stir each individual container. Doing this will distribute the heavier ingredients and suspend them in the lard. If using a 9x9 cake pan it is an easier process, you can just pour the entire pan of ingredients into the cake pan instead of doing the dividing process. If you use the cake pan, once the lard is completely cloudy, stir and distribute the fruit and nuts to suspend them in the lard. I put my suet cakes in the refrigerator to cool, this is where I store them until I use them. My suet basket measures 4 1/2" x 5". Once the cake pan suet is cooled, you can cut the entire suet block into four sections, they will fit perfectly into your suet holder.