Hands up who has got a larder or cupboard full of out of date baking ingredients that they can’t bear to throw away? Not only did we have a large pile of all of these, such as dried fruit, nuts, oats, and even coconut from 2015, but we had two boxes of Atora suet that had been eyeing me up imploringly since I opted to use butter in my homemade mincemeat last Christmas! I knew I had to make use of them, and one day it dawned on me that the combination that I had to hand would also make perfect bird food cakes!
Thanks to some very swift internet research it was then a very easy leap from a pile of aging larder leftovers to yummy bird food cakes. As an added bonus the project also allowed me to use up some of my other ‘waste’ including old yoghurt pots and my 5-year-old collection of veg box string!
It really was a very fun and satisfying project to do, perfect for the children to expand their ornithological knowledge, and hopefully generating lots of bird life to observe over the coming weeks, as winter turns to spring.
If you would like to give it a go, here’s what we did!
What You Will Need to Make Larder Leftover Bird Food Cakes
- 2 boxes of suet
- Assorted leftover larder items, eg. nuts, raisins, sultanas, oats, and coconut
- Yoghurt pots to use as moulds.
- String to thread through the pots.
How to Make the Bird Food Cakes
- Weigh out your various ingredients to ensure you have roughly equal quantities of each – in our case these included raisins, sultanas, coconut, nuts and oats. We matched the quantity of dry ingredients with the amount of suet that we had.
- Melt the suet gently in a pan.
- Meanwhile, make small holes in the bottoms of your yoghurt pots, thread a loop of string through and knot it.
- Mix the dry ingredients in with the suet, covering it all equally. Add a bit more dry stuff if you think it is too wet, although it doesn’t really matter.
- Fill your moulds, and put somewhere cold to set.
- When the cakes are set, carefully remove the yoghurt pots by cutting them off. We only removed the ones we are actually going to hang up and kept the spare ones as they were.
- Hang your bird food cakes on an appropriate tree and watch nature happen!
Most of the recipes that I saw online also had cheese in them! I struggled to find out why, and wondered if it was something that birds just really liked, so I grated a little bit in for good measure!
And once you’ve hung them up, sit back, relax and watch who comes to visit! Here’s a handy bird spotting guide to help you identify your feathered friends! Let us know what you see!
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