There are pictures out there on Pinterest of these beautiful heart-shaped bird treat ornaments made with bird seed mixed with gelatine. Unfortunately, I tried those and they failed miserably, never hardening at all. How disappointing.
However, I thought this year that a fool-proof alternative would be to make something similar, but this time with suet! So I saved my fat skimmed from various meats (I do often use those skimmings for cooking and frying, but sometimes I have extra) over the last few months in a can in my freezer. Today I used the fat to make lovely bird treats!
Assemble your materials and ingredients.
You will need:
- fat that will harden in the cold (chicken, pork, beef, butter, coconut, etc.)
- bird seed
- heart-shaped moulds (super cute as hearts, but any shape will do. Mini muffins are great for tiny treats that won’t weigh down smaller branches)
- plastic wrap
Warm fat until it is liquified. Mix it with bird seed until it is a uniform mixture. A little on the liquidy side would be better than too dry, to make sure everything will stick together. It should cool while you stir. Make sure it is not too hot for you to handle, especially if working with children.
Place plastic wrap over your mould form (this will make it easy to pop out. If you have a silicone muffin tray, you won’t need plastic wrap.
Spoon a thin layer of seed mixture into the mould.
Take a length of ribbon and knot it on one end to form a loop. Place the knotted end on top of your first layer of bird seed mixture.
Fill the rest of the mould up with seed mixture, burying the ribbon in the centre.
Let these chill outside or in the fridge or freezer. It didn’t take long for them to hold their shape. We made several batches, and popped the semi-firmed ones out to continue chilling while we worked on the next batch.
Pop them out of the mould and hang them outside where you will have a good view of them, and enjoy keeping those little birdies alive through another cold Northern Ontario winter!