Sunday, December 28, 2008

Making Bird Feeding Ornaments

As part of some of our gifts, Ben and I wanted to include some suet cakes in cute shapes. We decided to make them ourselves, since the ones in the store can cost so much!

We got the suet at the meat dept of our grocery store. That stuff is greasy and gross, which makes sense since it's beef fat. We chopped this up small and melted it slowly in a big pot. This is what it looks like while rendering.

I don't know if we didn't chop it fine enough, but there were lots of "cracklin's" left in the melted fat. We just fished these out and mixed the liquid fat with bird seed, sunflower seeds, and cornmeal. We just went for a slurry type of consistency.

After letting it cool in the bowl for a bit to allow the very liquidy fat to solidify slightly we spooned it into cookies cutters on a foil lined sheet pan. Waiting for it to cool some kept the fat from just running right out from under the cookie cutters all over the foil. We used a nail to make hanging holes while they were still squishy by just moving the seed out of the way.

We also made a wreath shape in the bundt pan with an entire batch of it. I filled the pan perhaps a quarter of the way to get a wreath this size.

After a night on the porch, they were hard and ready to package. I strung twine through the holes and put them into treat bags, with the label "A treat for your birds." Just to avoid anyone thinking they were people food!

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4 comments:

Alison said...

I remember my grandma and mom always buying suet at the grocery store and putting it out for the birds. I've seen the mix it with birdseed before, but most often they would just hang it out in a little net the birds could hang onto and eat through.

I'm sure your birds appreciate the Christmas shapes. Who knows, maybe it will attract Fweeter the Golden Bird.

Bethany said...

my parents have a special metal holder for suet that my grandpa made. same concept I guess.

I wonder if Fweeter is full of holiday cheer, or if all the carols bug him?

Melonie said...

Great project. My mom would love this. She's an avid birdwatcher.

You've got all sorts of neat projects up lately... but I have to say, the chicken butt pic CRACKED me up.

ha ha ha. I kill me. ;-)

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