Monday, November 24, 2008

We keep our fat in a jar under the sink

It's not fudge.

On Saturday afternoon I made a batch of suet cakes for the bird feeders. It's one of the items on my 101 in 1001 list and since the weather has turned cold I thought this was the perfect time to cross it off. I like to give the birds suet cakes in the winter so they have some extra fat in their diet. We keep a 20 gallon tub of bird seed in the garage year round—a mix of millet, corn, and sunflower seeds. When we make bacon we pour the grease into a glass jar and keep it under the kitchen sink until it the jar is full. This fat became the main ingredient for the suet cakes. Let me tell you something about grease that has been sitting at room temp in a closed jar for several months—the smell is overpowering.

I found a few recipes online as a guide and adapted them to use what I had on hand. For the 11 x 7 block I used:

Bacon fat (approx. 1 Tony Packo's pickle jar & 1 med. salsa jar full)
Peanut Butter (a heaping tablespoon or so)
Bird Seed (probably two cups worth)
Flour (the recipe called for 5 c. per 1 lb. lard—I just poured and stirred until I found a consistency I liked)

Doesn't this look stratum or a multi-scented Glade candle?

In a large glass mixing bowl I microwaved the fat for 45 seconds to soften it up into an almost liquid consistency. Then I mixed in the rest of the ingredients until the mixture had a soft fudge-like feel. I lined a 11 x 7 pan with foil and poured the mixture into it to cool. I stuck the entire pan in the freezer for a few hours. The foil made it easy to lift the entire mixture out of the pan and cut it into 6 squares to fit the suet feeders.

I put one in the feeder on Sunday, stuck the rest in a gallon ziploc bag and threw them back into the freezer. This one batch should last us through most of the winter. I hope the birds approve.


Jennifer said...

I've never heard of suet cakes before but it's a great idea to keep the birds a food source through the winter months. This would be a great snow day project with the kiddos!

❉ pixie ❉ said...

jennifer—Suet cakes are a great resource for birds in the colder weather. If you make them I'd love to hear about it.

Naynayfazz said...

I never heard of suet cakes either but mmm, those look good. My birthday is in 3.5 weeks ya know? -wink wink- :)

❉ pixie ❉ said...

naynay—So you want a cake made out of old fat and bird seed? You're easy to please. :)

❉ pixie ❉ said...

naynay—Or disgusting. It's a toss up.

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Wow, I am so impressed. I LOVED the "it's not fudge" comment under the picture. Because, that is SO what I was wondering, when I first saw it. HA HA HA!!! I found you from Bliss.Dom.

Cruel Shoes said...

Some days I feel like I AM a cake made of fat and bird seed.

Naynayfazz said...

HA HA.. you're cute. Um, let's go with easy to please.I have 100 million birds in my yard so they would be easy to please too. They would say, "Su-eeet". he he

Vegas Princess said...

When you mentioned the suet cakes on Twitter I thought it was some new kind of treat. I couldn't have been more wrong. But I bet your bords are thrilled. Now you have to take some pictures of them gorging themselves. :)

Steelers Wine Girl said...

Wow, that's amazing. I've heard of suet cakes but never actually seen them before.

As I was reading your blog, I kept expecting the pictures of the grease/fat to be grosser than they were...I was prepared to flinch away from my screen at any second...but it never happened. I'm not sure if that says something about your pictures or about my reaction! LOL

❉ pixie ❉ said...

lisa—It almost looks good enough to eat, doesn't it?

cruel shoes—Hahahaha!

naynay—Double Hahahaha!

vp—If you want to try them, go ahead.

swg—Thanks. I'm so domestic, aren't I?

Kim @ Up North Mommy said...

What distribution method do you use for the suet cake? Meaning, how do you get it to the birds?

❉ pixie ❉ said...

kim—I put one cake in a suet cage for the birds.