Friday, February 10, 2017

The Frugalista in Winter: Sunflower Lard Cakes

Suet cakes are not expensive items, but it's even cheaper to make your own, from lard and sunflower or millet seed.
I never thought one way or the other about lard, until I started making soap. It makes a lovely soap with a rich lather. It also means I now have lard around the house. I have a block that had gotten a bit old - not rancid, but old fats will make a soap whose scent doesn't last as long. Waste is a dirty word at my house, so I found another use for it: sunflower seed cakes.

Lard melts at a low temperature - around 85°, which makes it a bad choice to feed the birds in the summer. (It ain't likely to get to 85° today, though; it's snowing like a mad bastard.) I melt the lard in a pan on the stove, and pour it over sunflower seed in a mini loaf pan. I don't know if the plastic wrap is necessary - probably not, I mean, what could be slipperier than lard? But I didn't want to have to screw around with the mess if I was wrong.

I popped the pan in the fridge, and then waited and...
I use a bit of wire to secure the cage, because the squirrels know how to get it open!

Two fit in the suet cage. Surprisingly, the one with the least lard - just enough to come to th ebottom edge of the top layer of seed - held together the best.

Hoping I see my downy woodpeckers, but even if not, lots of birds enjoy a little fat in their diet, to help keep them warm during the Maine winter.

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