I get a lot of requests for a “Recipe” for Chop. I don’t give one. I don’t have one. I don’t recommend one. And here’s why.
I believe parrots eat seasonally in the wild. They have to, don’t you think? I mean, it’s not like they’re squirrels hoarding food in a “parrot pantry” somewhere. They eat what’s available. Once I got Chop figured out and well on its way to being formed into a concept, I began adding what was in season.
Which of course reminds me of a quote from the Film, Annie Hall. Annie and Alvy are at a party in L.A. and the camera pans to some television executives talking:
“Right now, it’s only a notion. But I think I can get money to make it into a concept. And later turn it into an idea.”
And that’s pretty much how I came up with Chop. I mean really; you can buy frozen vegetables, frozen pasta. I thought, “If Birdseye can do it so can I!”
I found Annie, HERE
I wanted to get a wider variety of produce and different items in my Greys’ diet and the only way to do this was to look at it from an entire year’s stand point, season by season.
I also found that buying items in season turned out to be less expensive. And God knows I’m all for saving money. (See my post HERE on ways of saving money.)
Years ago, I was talking to Robin Shewokis and I mentioned to her that my goal was to get at least a hundred items into Parker over a year’s time. There are so many good things to offer your parrot that I think it’s counter-productive to follow a precise recipe.
Once you get a handle on the thing, you can riff on it however you see fit. And usually, the way to riff is to use the seasonal, cheapest and freshest items available. It looks more difficult and more complicated than it actually is. It’s really very easy. It’s just like making a salad or a casserole…in a very big pot. I have done presentations on how to make Chop at various clubs, expos and groups.
And once people either helped me make it or saw how it was made, they realized that it’s actually very easy to do. I simply find the idea of a recipe extremely limiting. I also understand that people are making it all over the place. Blorian Yang from Hsinchu, Taiwan makes it. And to be honest, I don’t know that a lot of the vegetables we buy and take for granted are available there. So how could I possibly write a recipe with items unavailable in other parts of the world?
I’m also afraid that writing a recipe would discourage people from trying it. What if one item weren’t available? Would someone make it without that item? Would they try and find something else to substitute? Or would they just give up because they can’t find watercress?
These are things I’ve thought about along the way. And while they may sounds trivial, I don’t think they are. I’m hoping that more and more people realize that “The Chop Concept” is a wonderful way of enriching your parrot’s diet. Supplemented with a formulated pelleted diet, sprouts, nuts and nutritious table food, you’ve got a pretty good method of feeding going on.
I simply don’t want to discourage anyone. I started small. Simple. And you can start that way too. The trick is- you just have to start. And once you realize how easy it is, you’ll do it again and again. As the batch get bigger and your life gets easier, your parrots are going to benefit from this. Give it a try. It’s not hard at all.
March 10, 2012 at 10:56 am
I make 3 lobster pots full about every 2-3 months. Every time I make it it is different. I go shopping the day before and it is the only time I dont have a list for every item. I buy what looks good….and smells good. I have found that I have varied the dry ingrediants from batch to batch to get a dryer consistency cause it freezes better and stays frozen without a lot of change from when I put it into the baggies till the day I thaw it out. Every one of my 11 birds from parakeet to Amazon love the chop…..I just put it through another chopping for the little ones to get it to a size they like….and I add fresh fruit and nuts when I feed them. Patricia…thank you so much for the “Recipe\Idea” cause it saves me so much time….the birds love it…every one of them….and I also know they are eating healthy…..Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou…….
March 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm
When I first started making Chop, I wasn’t sure how it will turn out. I used 2 carrots, a broccoli and a few other vegetables. That batch was enough for 10 days. Every other batch after that got bigger and bigger, for eg. I made a batch a week ago and it turned out to be enough for the next 3 months!!
Difference between what is available at what time varies extremely from one continent to another. Different climates = different vegetables. We all have excess to the same types of veggies more or less, just at a different time. I was surprised when I saw one of your Chop videos and you said that you didn’t know how a celery root looks like and my first thought was: ” Well, how do you make soups than?” I think that the biggest problem with making Chop is that people don’t know what veggies can be fed raw and what can’t. For instance, I didn’t know you can feed sweet potatoes raw.
March 11, 2012 at 10:38 am
If anyone could please answer this, it would be fantastic..when you make chop, like for instance, noodles-(cooked or not) corn on the cob-(cooked or not) etc..
my baby eats everything under the sun but not real sure how to serve it so i serve it the way i eat it–less salt and siger of course..any kind of help in how to make anything nutricious for him would be awesome..he is a 3 yr old quaker
May 12, 2012 at 8:57 am
Months ago, I made a batch of chop after watching your Autumn Chop video. I didn’t try to follow it exactly, of course. Now, I’m on my last bag, and I’ll have to watch the video again. I,too, forget which things can be added raw and which are best (or need) to be cooked. I’m not looking for a recipe, but a list would be very helpful!
Thanks for the very informative videos etc. that you provide!
September 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm
I hope I didn’t open up a can of worms Patricia. Didn’t mean to.
September 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm
Oh, not at all Angel!
March 12, 2013 at 12:25 am
I have heard that some things need to be dehydrated before adding to the chop. I have also heard that chop can be frozen, tho again, is that with everything having been dehydrated first, or does one not need to dehydrate anything?
Patricia, for a novice (read: having NEVER made chop) it would be exceedingly helpful for some general tips on this dehydrating biz, freezing tips, tools to purchase like a cuisinart (I don’t have one of these) or a little mini chop gadget (I don’t have one of these, either, tho I doubt they’d be as pricey as a full fledged cuisinart), a dehydrator (is it necessary to buy a dehydrator or are there clever ways to dehydrate veggies, fruits… etc. using the all-natural SUN), some basic starter ingredients (notice I said “starter” so you could absolutely include a disclaimer about that) and anything else that would be helpful to a total chop beginner, like adding herbs or spices (I have no idea about spices and parrots).
Please? God forbid I make soggy chop and get two Grey beaks all in a tussy.
Whatever help and advice you could give, this gal would be COMPLETELY GREYTful!! : D
October 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm
I have been making and freezing chop for years. I have one, extremely spoiled ekkie, and when I make it I normally end up with enough chop to last him a year on his own. Most of what I make, ends up frozen in cube trays, bagged and taken to our local sanctuary. The last time I made chop (read a couple months ago) I ended up hauling 2 coolers full out there, it barely fit in a kitchen sized garbage bag!Bountifulbaskets.org is how I afford this, along with regrowing things like lettuces and kales, celery, carrots and spinach from my garden, even have a couple of pineapple tops that have turned into the coolest houseplants! I dehydrate squash, zukes, sweet potatoes and yams in my oven at 200 for several hours (doesn’t take long if you slice them thin) Chia, flax, almond meal, bean sprouts, alfalfa, the list goes on and on. The only thing I ended up spending a lot of money on is that I always try to add papya and mango to every batch as they are faves for even the pickiest birds, and everything sticks to them. For me it’s a two day process as the night before I soak the beans, brown and wild rice, lentils, quinoa, so that the next day i only have to rinse a couple times, then mix. Part of the beans get mixed into the grain bake (spelt, oat groats, buckwheat groats) with some of the pureed fruit. the list goes on and on! All of this leads to a blistered finger from chopping, but I don’t have to do it again for months! Love your post’s patricia, keep spreading the word about how to feed those babies right!
October 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm
Hi Patricia, Can you clarify a few things for me? What vegetables (if any) need to be blanched before freezing? I was told not to offer raw sweet potato to birds. Some vegetables turn into mush after they have been frozen (bell peppers for example). Is there something I can do to prevent this?
Thanks or your help
October 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm
I have been using raw sweet potato for years with no ill effects. It’s more bioavailable if you cook it. It’s your Chop, your way. Do not process the peppers in the food processor. Hand cut them and add the pieces. I have never had a problem with them when i hand cut them. And no, I don’t blanch any of the vegetables before processing them.