Getting ready for Christmas – Making mincemeat

This will make your kitchen smell fantastic!

It looks like a long list of ingredients but if you go to the home baking aisle in most supermarkets you will find almost everything below in one place. If you can’t find the exact quantities given don’t worry too much (these were just the quantities per bag of the brands I found), just try to keep the overall weight of dried fruits the same.

Once you’ve got everything this will take just 10 minutes of your time and then an occasional stir once every thing is in the pot – it’s really easy to make. It’s not all that authentic as it doesn’t contain suet but using butter instead will make your mincemeat more crowd-friendly and you won’t have to remember to issue any “Not vegetarian!” warnings.

Make sure you sterilise your jars and lids, ladle in the mincemeat while it and the jars are still hot then seal with the lids (see this post for tips on sterilising). It will easily keep until Christmas, I’d advise using this year but due to the high sugar content it may keep for several years (depending on how thoroughly you have sterilised your jars of course). You can use it to make mince pies, or eat on its own with a liqueur cream or ice-cream. You could add it to biscuits or other baking and make them instantly Christmassy. Make some nice labels and a jar would also make a lovely addition to a Christmas hamper.


Makes approx 1.75kg of mincemeat (enough for 7x 250ml sterilised jars). Enough for 50-60 medium-sized mince pies.

  • 2 large cooking apples (approx. 850g whole weight), peeled, cored and diced into small cubes
  • 200g light soft brown sugar
  • 325g raisins
  • 325g sultanas
  • 200g dried cranberries
  • 250g dates, de-stoned if necessary and chopped into small pieces
  • 200g mixed peel
  • 50g flaked almonds, chopped into small pieces
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 100ml brandy

Add everything except the brandy to a large pot and stir to combine. Heat until the fruit and butter starts to bubble then turn the heat down to a simmer and stir occasionally to stop the fruit sticking to the bottom.

After 20 minutes remove from the heat and allow to cool for a while. Add the brandy once the mixture is no longer hot but still warm and stir through. Ladle into jars or use immediately.

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