This is a Grain Bake. This took five minutes of prep time and about an hour and a half in the oven. It’s good for your birds. It’s easy to make and a snap to bag up and freeze. The best part is that your birds will more than likely eat it the first time out. Reports have come in that even the fussiest of birds will eat this stuff.
You don’t have to be a whiz in the kitchen to make it. I could even teach Janet Holt Hilton how to make it if she had the patience to watch and she hates to cook. But this isn’t really cooking as much as it is assembly. Always start by oiling the pan with a little bird-healthy oil. I like to use coconut oil.
Now. What should you put in your grain bake? Well, grains of course. Start with oatmeal. Then you can add a number of grains: Barley, rice, quinoa, spelt, amaranth, teff, kamut, bulgur, or my latest favorite: buckwheat. Throw the grains in and mix them up thoroughly.
Now this is where it gets fun. You can hide some bird-healthy stuff in there. You can slice up raw sweet potatoes and toss those in there as well as adding some canned or fresh pumpkin.
Bake the fresh pumpkin in a 350 degree oven for about a half hour to soften it up or you’re gong to need a chain saw to get through it. And throw the pumpkin seeds in the bake as well.
If you’re making a more savory bake, get those healthy vegetables in there. Hot peppers, brussels sprouts, cabbage…they can all go into a grain bake if you’re so inclined.
Unsweetened coconut is always a welcome addition. You can make it a fruity grain bake with the addition of dried fruit like apricots or cherries. Thinly sliced fresh apple is always fun and Granny Smith Apples bake up very nicely.
Or you can head in the other direction and make it more savory with the addition of root vegetables and adding a flavoring like curry or red pepper flakes if that’s what your birds like. And if you’re getting funky with it, you can always add some of those hardier green vegetables like kale or collard greens to boost their intake of leafy vegetables. If your birds don’t care for the green leafy vegetables, they might not mind them if they are cooked.
After you get your ingredients mix in there, cover all the ingredients with water. Don’t fill your casserole all the way up because the grains will swell as it absorbs the water. Put it in a 350 degree oven and keep your eye on it. If it begins to get a bit too dry, add more water.
Check on it after an hour or so and see if the grains are soft. If they are, pull it out of the oven and let it cool. Then bag it up and store in the freezer. Easy Peasy! I’ve seen many people pick up on this method of cooking for their birds over at “The Parrots Pantry” on Facebook.
It’s a wonderful group and the ideas you get are a great starting point in feeding your birds a healthier diet.
Some of your best Grain Bakes will come in time when you experiment with different combinations of grains, fruit and vegetables. It just takes a little patience and experimentation.
What are some of the combinations you’ve used that seem to work for your flock? Put them in the comments section and share!