Suet facts, feeders, and recipes

Suet: Facts, Feeders, and Recipes

Suet is raw beef fat from around the kidneys and loins. Suet is one of the best foods to attract nuthatches, woodpeckers, wrens, titmice, creepers, kinglets, chickadees, thrashers, cardinals and even bluebirds and unfortunately the starlings and squirrels! To discourage the starlings, purchase a suet feeder cage that is covered on all sides but the bottom. Only birds that can hang upside down will use this feeder.

If the temperature outside is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and warmer, beef fat can turn rancid and melt. There are many commercial suet cakes that can be purchased and some of these are called “no melt”, “berry” and “insect” cakes.

How to Render Suet:

You can trim excess fat off beef cuts and store in the freezer until enough fat is achieved or you can purchase beef fat from the grocery store or your nearby butcher.

1.  Grind the beef fat with a meat grinder or finely chop the fat.
2.  Heat the fat over a low to medium flame until its liquefied.
3.  Strain by pouring melted suet through a fine cheesecloth.
4.  Let cool to harden.
5.  Repeat steps 2-3. If the fat is not rendered twice, the suet will not cake properly.
6.  Let cool to harden and store in a covered container in the freezer.

Household Items That Can Be Used to Pour Suet In:

•  Baker’s Tin Foil Bake Cups
•  When you purchase a suet cake, reuse the container that it came in
•  When suet cools, roll in balls
•  Make a holding cell from heavy duty aluminum foil
•  Small bread loaf pans lined with plastic wrap or foil for easy removal.
•  Margarine containers
•  Any size baking/pie pans (when suet cools, cut into squares)
•  Pine Cones
•  “Nuthatch Suet Eggs”

Nuthatch Suet Eggs:

We use the “Jell-O Egg Jigglers” mold for some fun. These molds are given away at grocery stores during the Easter Holidays. You can also use egg cartons.

1.  Make suet using any one of the suet recipes listed below.
2.  Cut twine or heavy string into 12″ lengths (optional). (see Note 2 below)
3.  Using a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil, lightly wipe inside of both sides of the mold and along the rims.
4.  Close the mold, matching up the rims of the egg halves until you hear the firm snap.
5.  Insert the string in the top hole (optional) and pour the suet mixture through a funnel.
6.  Refrigerate or freeze.
7.  To pry open the Jell-O Egg Jigglers Mold, open the mold using a dull flat knife (butter knife) between each egg. Do not open mold by pulling the handles apart. Shake gently to unmold eggs.

Notes: 

1.  If you don’t want to use the twine/heavy string, just pour suet in molds. Place eggs in a nylon mesh onion bag and hang anywhere in your backyard!

2.  If the twine will be used, you can tie the eggs together and hang from a tree branch. The twine should not be more than 12″ in length. If you want to tie the eggs around a tree trunk, use longer lengths of twine.

Suet Feeders:

There are a variety of suet feeders that can be purchased or made. The popular commercially available suet feeder is a wire cage that holds one cake of suet. Some bird feeders have a hopper for seeds and suet cages on the sides of the hopper. 

There are also plenty of DIY suet feeder tutorials online. 

Suet Recipes:

1. Birder's Delight

1 Pound

Suet cut in small pieces

1 Cup

Yellow Cornmeal

1 Cup

Rolled Oats

1 Cup

Chunky Peanut Butter

1 Cup

Mixed Wild Bird Seed

1 Cup

Hulled Sunflower Seed or Chopped Pecans

Preparation:

1.  Melt suet over low flame.
2.  Stir in ingredients.
3.  Pour or pack into molds, feeders, or any household item.
4.  Refrigerate until hardened or freeze.

2. Feathered Friends

1 Cup

Chunky Peanut Butter

2 Cups

Cornmeal

2 Cups

Quick Cook Oats

1 Cup

Lard or Suet

1/3 Cup

Sugar

1 Cup

White Flour

Preparation:

1.  Melt lard/suet and peanut butter together and stir.
2.  Stir the remaining ingredients.
3.  Pour the mixture into a square container about 1-1/2 inches thick.
4.  Allow it to cool, then cut it into squares and store in the freezer.

3. It Must be Love

1/2 Pound

Fresh Suet

1/3 Cup

Black Oil Sunflower Seed

2/3 Cup

Mixed Wild Bird Seed

1/8 Cup

Chopped Peanuts or Chopped Pecans

1/4 Cup

Raisins

Preparation:

1. Follow instructions for rendering suet.
2. While suet is cooling, stir ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Place the suet into the mixture and mix thoroughly.
4. Pour or pack into molds, feeders, or any household item. Then, refrigerate until hardened or freeze.

4. Peanut Butter Sandwich

1 Cup

Fresh Suet

1 Cup

Peanut Butter

3 Cups

Yellow Cornmeal

1/2 Cup

Whole Wheat Flour

Preparation:

1.  Follow instructions for rendering suet.
2.  Over low heat, melt suet and add peanut butter. Stir until well blended.
3.  Mix ingredients together in a large bowl.
4.  Pour suet into the bowl mixture and mix thoroughly.
5.  Pour or pack into molds, feeders, or any household item.
6.  Refrigerate until hardened or freeze.

5. Captain Crunch

2 Pounds

Fresh Ground Suet

1/2 Cup

Chunky Peanut Butter

1/2 Cup

Shelled Sunflower Seeds or Chopped Pecans

Preparation:

1. Melt suet in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Add peanut butter, stirring until melted and well blended.
3. Stir in the sunflower seeds. Mix thoroughly.
4. Pour or pack into molds, feeders, or any household item.
5. Refrigerate until hardened or freeze.

6. Apple Dumplings

3 Cups

Rendered Suet

1 Cup

Whole Wheat Bread (dried & crumbled)

1/2 Cup

Shelled Sunflower Seeds

1/4 Cup

Millet

1/2 Cup

Chopped Dried Apples

Preparation:

1. Melt suet in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Allow the suet to cool until slightly thickened.
4. Stir suet into the bowl of mixture. Mix thoroughly.

5.  Pour or pack into molds, feeders, or any household item.
6. Refrigerate until hardened or freeze.

7. Back to Basics

1 Cup

Suet

1 Cup

Peanut Butter

3 Cups

Cornmeal

1/2 Cup

White Flour

Preparation:

1. Melt suet in a saucepan over low heat.
2.  Add peanut butter, stirring until well blended.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
4. Allow the suet to cool until slightly thickened.
5. Stir suet into the bowl of mixture and mix thoroughly.
6. Pour or pack into molds, feeders, or any household item. Then, refrigerate until harden or freeze.

8. Healthy Treat

3 1/2 Cups

Oatmeal

1 Quart

Water

1 Pound

Suet

1 1/2 Ounce Jar

Peanut Butter

3 1/2 Cups

Cornmeal

3 1/2 Cups

Cream of Wheat

Preparation:

1. Melt suet in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Cook oatmeal in water for 2 minutes and remove from heat
3. Stir in suet and peanut butter and blend.
4. Add cornmeal and cream of wheat.
5. Pour or pack into molds, feeders, or any household item.
6. Refrigerate until hardened or freeze.

9. Zesty Berry

4 1/2 Cups

Ground Beef Suet

3/4 Cup

Finely Ground Cracker or Bread Crumbs

1/4 Cup

White Proso Millet

1/2 Cup

Hulled Sunflower Seed

1/4 Cup

Dried and Chopped Berries, Raisins or Currants

Preparation:

1. Melt suet over medium heat.
2. Mix together remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Allow suet to cool until lightly thickened.
4. Pour into bowl with other ingredients and mix well.
5. Pour or pack into molds, feeders, or any household item.
6. Refrigerate until hardened or freeze.

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