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Make your own suet

By: Garden Gate staff
Learn how to make your own suet and even see how to customize the recipe for different types of birds.

Suet cakes are easy to make and provide insect-eating birds something to eat in winter when they can't eat the berries and seeds in your garden. Of course you can buy them prepackaged at almost any grocery or hardware store. But it’s fun and satisfying to make your birds some homemade treats. And did you know that different birds enjoy different ingredients? Customize your recipe to feed your favorites! We’ll start by showing you the basic process, then check out three different mixes below.

Suet is rendered beef fat and is the ingredient that holds all suet cakes together. You can find it at the meat counter of your local grocery store. (If you can’t find it, lard is a good substitute.)

Here’s how to put suet cakes together:

Step one — Combine ingredients

Melt suet in a double boiler over low heat until it’s clear. Using a double boiler will prevent smoking or scorching. Then stir in additional ingredients until well combined.

Step two — Add to a form

Scoop the mixture into a form — the bottom of a milk carton, a plastic food storage container or an ice cube tray all work well.

Step three — Cooling time

Let the cake cool in the refrigerator for a few hours before you put it outside or store it in the freezer until you’re ready to put it outside.

Custom suet recipes

Here are three easy recipes you can make and the type of bird it will attract.

Woodpecker Treat

  • 1 lb. suet
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup raisins

Nuthatch Special

  • 1 lb. of suet
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • ¼ cup each of shelled sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts and chopped peanuts

Chickadee Delight

  • 1 lb. suet
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup each of blueberries and shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. grape jelly

Woodpecker Treat

  • 1 lb. suet
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup raisins

Chickadee Delight

  • 1 lb. suet
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup each of blueberries and shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. grape jelly

Nuthatch Special

  • 1 lb. of suet
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • ¼ cup each of shelled sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts and chopped peanuts
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