I have been making suet for the birds for years. It is very easy to make and the birds absolutely love it. I tested my handmade suet against store bought brands and the birds ate all of mine and hardly touched the store bought, so it has won the taste test!!
You can easily adjust the recipe to fit your own ingredients and supplies you have at home. Feel free to substitute and use up extra ingredients you have. It was hard for me to measure and figure out amounts of ingredients I use because I add by sight and feel!!
This makes a full cake pan, which I cut into 6 large blocks. Ingredient measurements do not have to be exact. It is a forgiving recipe.
Easy to Make Scrumptious Suet
2 lbs Lard ( I buy the 4 lb buckets and use half in a batch)
1/2 cup Oats ( optional) I use regular oats, minute is fine
1 cup+ Cornmeal
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 1/2 Cups+ Wild Bird Seed ( or scratch) ( I put seed in Christmas Tins for easy measuring)
1 1/2 Cups+ Sunflower Seeds ( Black oil is best, in shell is fine or sunflower nuts)
1 – 2 cups Dried Fruit, Trail Mix or Nuts 1 – 7 oz pkg is approximately 2 cups ( I use up slightly older (but still fresh) and extra items that we aren’t eating, but I have bought just for suet. Dollar Stores and Dollar Tree have reasonably priced dried fruit and nuts)
1. In a large pan, melt lard and peanut butter in pan over low heat, stirring occasionally. While lard is melting gather and prepare a cake pan lined with waxed paper or tin foil. ( I recycle the wax insert bags that dry cereal like cornflakes come in. Rinse them off, air dry and store. They work perfectly in the cake pans, and they are much stronger than regular wax paper)
2. Add cornmeal to melted suet and peanut butter mixture. Stir until cornmeal is absorbed.
3. Turn off heat. Add oats.
4. Add wild bird seed and sunflower seeds/nuts to mixture. Stir to feel texture. You may add more seed and sunflowers if needed. You want it fairly thick.
5. Add fruit and nuts. Stir
6. Carefully pour suet into lined cake pan. Use a large spoon to gently distribute the ingredients evenly. Sunflowers in hulls tend to sit on top. This is okay.
7. Wait for suet to cool and set up. We love setting ours outside in the cold on the back deck and covering with an old screen and weighting with a few rocks to keep critters out. If you have room, you can pop it in your freezer for a bit.
8. Once it has set up, I usually wait a few hours, then cut into squares. I use a butter knife to carefully cut through the suet. It is easy to cut if it isn’t frozen solid!!
9. Remove suet from pan and store in fridge or freezer or a very cool location like a garage or cellar, or secured place outdoors. I put 3-4 squares in a gallon size Ziploc freezer baggie for storage and lay flat. I use disposable latex gloves to handle the suet, your hands will get very greasy and slippery if you do not use gloves!!
It is easy to remove the suet squares, pull up on the corners of the wax paper and it lifts up so you can get your fingers under the corner square and carefully pull out of pan.
We have small wire cages we hang with suet and we have several different suet feeders that I made from small logs we cut from tree limbs. I will give instructions in another post. I like to stuff the extra pieces of suet into the logs, woodpeckers especially love eating from these.
We like to use this suet recipe in spring, fall and winter but not in summer. Suet will melt down in heat. This is nutritious for the birds and keeps them alive during brutal winter days. We really enjoy watching the woodpeckers, titmouse, chickadees, cardinals, blue jays, and others who come to feast at the feeders.