Wild Bird Seed Cakes

I have two big square wire baskets that are made for holding bird seed cakes – the big bird seed cakes, the ones that weigh about two pounds. A couple of years ago, you could get those seed cakes for $3 or $4. Recently, though, the price has gone up and up, and unless you find them on sale, you’ll pay at least $6, sometimes as much as $8. It’s utterly ridiculous to pay that kind of money, when between the birds and the squirrels, those seed cakes are gone in three days, especially in the winter.

So I Googled around and considered a bunch of recipes (these seed cakes are not actually suet, as they don’t include any kind of animal fat. I do have pig fat in the freezer that I’ll one day render into lard so that I can make my own suet, but that’s another post entirely, and probably won’t be happening any time soon.) and hit upon one that’s simple and quick, and does exactly what I need it to do.

Sometimes I make the seed cakes as I need them, and sometimes I make a bunch at once – they’ll keep nicely in the freezer. They might keep just as well in the fridge, but we have more freezer space than fridge space, so that’s what I do.

Your ingredients:

DSC02231

Flour, light corn syrup, water (not pictured) and a packet of plain gelatin per seed block – that’s not a requirement, but I always use the gelatin to help hold it all together. Also, bird seed. I’m just using your basic wild bird blend here, but I’ve used the waste-free kind in the past (to cut down on the number of sunflower seed shells that pile up under the seed baskets), and you can toss any kind of dried fruits or nuts that you have on hand. If I’d thought of it, I would have added a handful of walnuts to this (Chickadees love walnuts), but I didn’t think of it. Oh, well – there’s always next time!

DSC02234

This is the “form” for molding my seed blocks. I’ve got two of them, they’re Sterilite 1.4 liter containers. I figured out what size I needed by measuring the seed cage and then going to the grocery store and measuring plastic containers until I found a size that works. The seed blocks don’t fit perfectly, but they’re close enough.

I line the containers with plastic wrap because that makes it easier to get the blocks out of the containers. Also, if I’m going to freeze them, I just fold the plastic wrap across the top and stick the block in the freezer. You could also use parchment paper if you want, or nothing at all – I find that the blocks will stick to the plastic container, though, so you might have to firmly tap (slam) the container down on the counter to get the block to come out.

So, it’s simple – whisk your flour, water, and corn syrup together. Add the packet of gelatin (if you’re using it) last, whisk it together, and dump your seeds into the bowl.

DSC02237

Mix it all together like you’re mixing a cake. Once the “glue” is incorporated, all you need to do is scoop the whole shebang into your plastic “form”, and pat the mixture down firmly.

DSC02240

Stick it in the fridge for about an hour to let it firm up. Then lift the seed block out of the container and put it in the seed cage. Voila!

DSC02242

 

Wild Bird Seed Cakes
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: Appetiser?
Serves: innumerable
Ingredients
  • Edible glue:
  • ¾ c. flour (I use all-purpose, I’m sure about any kind works just fine)
  • ½ c. water
  • 3 T corn syrup (I use light)
  • 1 envelope of plain gelatin (optional)
  • 4 c. birdseed and peanuts, fruits, berries, raisins, or anything else you have on hand that the birds would enjoy.
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, water, and corn syrup (a whisk works well). Add in the envelope of gelatin, if using.
  2. Add 4 cups of seed, nuts, fruits, whatever you’re using. Mix well.
  3. Press seed mix into a plastic container of your preferred size (which has been lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper).
  4. Refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Remove seed block from container, and hang it in your seed cage.
Notes
Seed blocks freeze well – just wrap in plastic wrap and stack in the freezer until you need one.

 

13 Comments

  1. I like the appetizer category, although I think this one could go in bait just as well!

    Reply
    • Ha – it could indeed!

      Reply
  2. What a great idea. Never thought of making my own blocks. Just was buying them all the time. Just to clarify- is it one envelope or box of Knox per recipe?

    Reply
    • Sorry, Kelly – it’s just one little envelope, not the whole box. I’ll go correct that in the recipe to make it clearer!

      Reply
  3. What is considered edible glue?

    Reply
    • Edible glue is what you get when you mix the flour, light corn syrup, water, and gelatin.

      Reply
      • (Though I’d only consider it edible from the birds’ perspective; I wouldn’t eat it myself. Though with the corn syrup in there, it might not be too bad!)

      • I think you should try it, just to be sure it’s edible. And then report back. :)

  4. You went to the store and measured plastic containers! I wish I could have been there to see what other people were thinking while you did this.

    Reply
    • Well, I wasn’t all OBVIOUS about it, for god’s sake. :D

      -Robyn

      Reply
  5. Thanks for this seed cake recipe! I do feel compelled to add that you don’t have to render fat to make suet if it’s for birds — just melt it and pour it into the mold, gristly bits and all.

    My mom used to make suet for the birds by pouring any fat leftover from cooking into a coffee can in the fridge. When the can was full, she cut off the bottom, pushed a dowel all the way through for perches on either side and hung it using a wire also pushed through the suet – coat hangers worked great.

    Easy, economical and good for bug-eating birds!!

    Reply
    • How neat, DB, thanks for the tip! :)

      -Robyn

      Reply
  6. Wow this is so fast and easy! Thanks for posting this recipe………I found that the (polystyrene?) plastic containers my grocer uses to sell pre-cut fruit are perfect! They are pretty and the block pops out so easily….no need for the plastic wrap insert and they can be used over and over again. I just put my homemade blocks out today! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>