The vibrant colors and swift movements of hummingbirds have captivated the fascination of people for ages. These tiny birds have over 360 species and can be a delightful charm to any garden or yard. Creating a hummingbird-friendly space is easier than one might think; all it takes is a feeder and the right food to reveal the beautiful world of hummingbirds.
Bringing Hummingbirds Into a Home Garden
To entice hummingbirds to a personal garden, consider crafting a sugar-water-based food and placing it in a special feeder. These birds primarily feed on flower nectar, and homemade sugar water serves as an excellent substitute. A straightforward recipe involves mixing four parts of water with one part of sugar. The mixture, once boiled and cooled, provides a nectar-like delight for hummingbirds. However, it’s crucial to avoid organic sugar, raw sugar, molasses, red dye, or food coloring, as these may contain harmful substances.
Maintaining your homemade hummingbird food’s freshness is vital. Refrigeration is suitable for up to a week, but it’s essential to empty, clean, and refill the feeders every few days to prevent fermentation and mold growth, which could endanger the birds.
How to Attract a Hummingbird
Crafting a DIY hummingbird feeder can be a rewarding endeavor. A small Mason-style jar, fitted with holes in the lid and an eye bolt for hanging, makes for an excellent homemade feeder. Bright red paint can be added to the lid for visibility, and filling the jar with sugar water completes the setup. Periodic cleaning and refilling are essential to keep the feeder in pristine condition for the birds.
For those who prefer purchasing a feeder, there are generally two types available – bottle-style and saucer-style. Experts recommend saucer-style feeders for their ease of cleaning and natural bee-proof design. These feeders often feature an ant moat to deter ants from reaching the nectar.
Beyond feeders, there are other simple ways to attract hummingbirds. Providing a variety of flowering native plants with tubular blossoms in vibrant shades of red, orange, pink, and purple is a surefire way to invite these birds. Having bugs like fruit flies in the garden can also help attract hummingbirds, so attracting fruit flies with rotting banana peels is a good idea.
Also, not knocking down the spiderwebs in the garden is a great idea. Hummingbirds actually use those silky threads to build their cute little nests. If some cool water features, nice shady trees, and a few comfy perching spots are added to a yard, it basically rolls out the red carpet for these elegant birds!
Let’s face it — the idea of having all the time in the world to cook using only fresh ingredients is the dream, BUT it’s tough to accomplish on weeknights. With work, hobbies, and a family to take care of, time is of the essence, and frozen produce can really speed up your cooking process. Here are the main benefits of stocking your freezer well and reaching for your favorite frozen fruits and veggies to make dinner ready faster and with less hassle.
Frozen Fruits and Veggies Won’t Go Bad
One of the undeniable benefits of having a well-stocked freezer is that frozen produce won’t go bad on you. If you come back from a grocery store shopping spree with a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies, and you forget them in the fridge, they’ll eventually go bad. Some will go bad way quicker than others, and you’ll have a mess to clean up in addition to the need to restock your kitchen.
By freezing some products, you’re extending their shelf life and you’re making it easy to reduce the amount of waste you produce. Of course, you need to be extra careful when it comes to packaging and finding airtight containers to prevent the so-called freezer burn, but other than that, it’s a much better solution.
Unlike Fresh Produce, It’s Always Ripe
The rule of thumb when it comes to fruits and veggies is that they are usually frozen in the peak moment of their ripeness. This means that each leaf of spinach or peach wedge is as flavorful as possible. That’s certainly not something you can say for fresh produce that’s susceptible to temperature fluctuations, improper packaging, and rough handling during transit. Plus, using fresh but not yet ripe produce can easily ruin the meal. Just make sure to thaw the frozen produce you’ll be using before adding it to your dinner recipe.
Frozen Products Are as Good as Fresh Produce
Okay, you’re probably shaking your head ‘no’ at that statement, but keep an open mind. While there are many products that can easily be substituted with their frozen counterparts (peas and raspberries, we’re looking at you), there are others that seemingly wouldn’t work if they aren’t fresh.
Here’s a solution for more tricky products like broccoli and blueberries. Instead of taking out the fruits and veggies that you need straight from the freezer half an hour before cooking them, take them out the night before and move them to the fridge. That way, they will fully thaw without going bad. Once in the dish, they’ll taste as if they were never frozen!