Mincemeat – Just in Time for the Holidays!

Since mentioning Dad’s delicious mincemeat in a previous post, a number of people have asked me for his recipe.  I’ve decided to post several, so that people wanting to make mincemeat have some options.

Dad uses the Mincemeat Without Suet recipe from Mom’s 1960s edition of A Guide to Good Cooking with Five Roses Flour.  Mom used to make it for years, but Dad has taken over the job, and does very well.  He’s become quite a baker since he retired from teaching, and is known for his buns and mince tarts – both made entirely from scratch.  His recipe is as follows:

Mincemeat Without Suet

2 cups (1 lb) butter

1 lb currants

1 lb raisins

1 1/2 lb chopped apple

1 lb mixed peel

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 nutmeg, grated

1 lemon, juice and rind

1 1/2 lbs sugar

Clean fruits and chop apple, raisins, and peel.  Stir in currants, sugar, butter, spices, and lemon juice and grated rind.   Pack in jars until ready to use.  This mixture does not require pre-cooking.  It contains no butcher’s meat and uses butter in place of suet.  It is wholesome and appetizing.

From The Young Housekeeper’s Assistant, by Mrs. E.G. Follett, 1864 comes the following:

An Economical Mince Pie

Take your giblets of beefsteak or roast beef, chop fine, add double the quantity in fruit.   If you have remnants of preserved or canned fruit, put all together; wet with some of the liquid from your sweet pickles, or boiled cider; sugar and spice to taste; much less of either is required if you use the liquor from sweet pickles.  Broken pieces and crumbs of fruit cake are nice also; strew in a little dried orange peel, cut fine.

If you find yourself with more green tomatoes than you know what to do with, try Ruth Wakefield’s recipe from Toll House Tried and True Recipes, 1940.  Yes, that’s the chocolate chip cookie lady!

Green Tomato Mincemeat


1 peck of green tomatoes fine, drain and rinse in cold water.  Add

1 cup vinegar and

4 cups water and cook slowly for 2 hours, then add

2 lbs chopped raisins

3 lbs white sugar

1 lb brown sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon

2 tbsp allspice

2 tbsp salt

2 tbsp nutmeg

1 tsp clove

Cook 2 hours longer and seal in sterilized jars.

And finally, Bettina’s recipe from Bettina’s Best Desserts, by Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron, and illustrated by Elizabeth Colborne.  The book is from 1923, and states that “Bettina makes her own mincemeat, and her mince pies are the best of their kind.”


(Eight quarts or filling for twelve pies.)

Two pounds uncooked beef, chopped fine

One pound suet, chopped fine

Three pounds raisins, well washed

Three pounds currants, well washed

Five cups brown sugar

One cup molasses

Three quarts chopped apples.  (Twelve cups)

Four cups fruit juice, any kind

Two level tablespoons salt

Three level tablespoons ground cinnamon

Two level teaspoons mace

Two level teaspoons ground clove

One level teaspoon grated nutmeg

Two lemons, grated rind and juice

One-fourth pound chopped citron

Four cups meat stock

Wash the meat and cook in boiling water to cover, until tender.  (Round, flank or shoulder of beef may be used.)  Remove all the gristle and chop the rest of the meat.  Reserve meat stock, measure out four cups of the stock, and add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook slowly for one hour.  Pour into glass jars, sterilized and boiling hot.  Seal at once.  Spiced peach juices, cider, jellies or fruit juices may be added when the mincemeat is used in pies.

I hope that some of you try some of these recipes, and if you do, please let me know how they turn out.

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