Bird Treat Ornament Tutorial (Good last-minute diy hostess gift idea)

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!

Heart-shaped Bird Treat Ornaments

Step 1:

Assemble your materials and ingredients.

Ingredients for home made diy bird treat ornaments

You will need:

– fat that will harden in the cold (chicken, pork, beef, butter, coconut, etc.)

– bird seed

– ribbon

– 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

Step 2:

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.

Step 3:

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.

Step 4:

Spoon a thin layer of seed mixture into the mould.

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Step 5:

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.

Step 5 of homemade bird treat ornaments

 

Step 6:

Fill the rest of the mould up with seed mixture, burying the ribbon in the centre.

Home made diy bird treat ornament

Step 7:

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.

Home made diy bird treat ornaments

Step 8:

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!

 

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Jammin’

As I mentioned earlier, over my holiday I had a chance to do some canning with my mom.  We did a whole whack of strawberry jam, and another whack of stewed rhubarb, which my mother-in-law kindly and generously cut for me from her garden.  Hooray for free food!  The strawberries were not so free, but at the Sudbury Farmer’s Market they were only $20 for two 4-litre baskets.  Yes, you read that right: $2.50 per litre, and I didn’t even have to pick them myself!

I love making jam and other jam-like things, so it was very exciting for me to find such cheap and plentiful berries to can.  I’m getting a head-start on my Christmas gifts (so anyone on my xmas list, please forget you saw how little I paid for these berries!!!!).  I also have a toddler who tends to go to bed rather late when we are visiting Grandma and Grandpa (Em and Papa), which meant we started around 10 pm and were just finishing up around 1 am.  It was a late night, but I didn’t even look at the clock until the end.

As for the recipe, we just used the one on the pectin box, which called for a bunch of crushed strawberries, plus a bunch of sugar, some lemon juice, and the pectin.  We did 2 batches, separately, which was a good thing because they wouldn’t have both fit in the pot!

Next up, I’m hoping to get enough blueberries on our next Sudbury visit to do a batch of blueberry jam.  And then we should be into apple and crabapple season, and I’m hoping to do some crabapple jelly and crabapple butter.  This will be part of my urban foraging series–I just can’t turn away from free food!  Any advice from other crabapple gleaners, especially from the Ottawa area, would be much appreciated!

Over & out.