Cooking for the birds


I have a special affinity for birds.   My father, Earl Reitz, along with my grandfather Mathew Reitz, ran a successful feed company in Hammond, Indiana when I was growing up.   Making bird seed blends for various national companies was one of the many items the company produced.  As an homage to my late father and grandfather and a tribute to their company, MGR Feed, I frequently make homemade bird seed wreaths formed in, what else, a bundt pan.

You probably have seen decorative bird seed wreaths in fancy gardening catelogs or garden shops.    With a bag of bird seed, a packet of Knox-brand unflavored gelatin, a few tablespoon of corn syrup and some flour, you can make your own bird seed wreath with your trusty fluted Bundt pan.

The gelatin and flour mixture becomes an edible glue that, when mixed with your favorite bird seed blend, creates a mixture that gets tightly packed into the greased tube pan.   Let the wreath dry out for a minimum of 24 hours in a cool place in your home.   It may look dry sooner, but trust me, it won’t be ready.   A 5-pound bag of bird seed will yield 3 bird seed wreaths.

Once dry, simply unmold (I unmold mine on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper to pick up any excess bird seed) and tie with decorative ribbon.  A perfect gift for the bird lover in your family as well as a delicious treat for those backyard feathered friends.

20161219_205514405_iOSBirdie Bundt Wreath
Makes 1 8-inch wreath

1 packet (¼ ounce) unflavored gelatin
½ cup warm water
¾ cup flour
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 cups birdseed mix
½ cup dried red fruit like dried cherries or cranberries

  • In a large bowl, mix gelatin and water.  Add flour and corn syrup; stir with rubber spatula to form a thick paste.   Add bird seed; mix to coat all seeds.
  • Spray top and side of a 12-cup bundt or fluted tube pan with non-stick food spray.  Distribute dried fruit on bottom of pan.  Press seed mixture firmly into pan.
  • Place pan in cool area; let dry for 24 hours.   Carefully flip pan and remove wreath.  Tie ribbon on top of wreath.  Hang on tree branch for birds to enjoy.


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