Homemade Mincemeat

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s that time of year when we cling to favorite recipes and traditions. Making Mincemeat falls into that category at our house. Dutifully looking at a recipe shared with me years ago, I go about using different ingredients and amounts than what is suggested on the card.

It’s kind of fun making Mincemeat because you add a wide assortment of things that probably shouldn’t go together in the pot but do. It looks strange, but it all comes together in the end, getting rave reviews from my taste testers.

Green tomatoes and applesauce are the base of the recipe. Usually the garden has a few un-ripe tomatoes to spare at this time, but if not, tomatillos work quite nicely. Then you add fall fruits…peaches, pears and plums. Add dried fruits too: raisins, currants and figs. And…because you can, try to find a bit of old jam in the fridge that you can add too, after all, the more “crazy”, the more fun!

This year I used quite a bit of frozen fruit…fruit that was less than desirable for fresh eating and saved in the freezer specifically for the purpose of making Mincemeat. My family has also declared cranberries, fresh or frozen, a must-have ingredient.

Traditional Mincemeat calls for beef suet, my mother-in-law used butter. When I reduced the amount of butter, Tom liked it so much better that he asked me to leave it out altogether.

Anna and I created a lengthy video in the kitchen so you could experience our Mincemeat making this year. I’ll try to capture a recipe here for you…just as a guide. But remember, part of the fun is to take liberty as you go.

The amount we made turned out to be enough for three pies. That’s about three quarts or 12 cups. Mincemeat can be canned, like applesauce. You can also freeze it. Mine has been known to keep several weeks in an extra fridge (where people forget about it) and eventually gets baked in a pie. If the Mincemeat seems a bit runny, sprinkle in up to a tablespoon of minute tapioca before you put it in the pie crust.

Ingredients to include:

  • 8-10 green tomatoes or tomatillos, rinsed and quartered
  • 6-8 apples, (4-6 made into applesauce; and 2-3 peeled and chopped)
  • Other coarsely chopped fruit:  peaches, pears, plums, kiwi.
  • Dried fruit, about 2 cups:  raisins, currants, figs (chopped)
  • Cranberries, whole
  • Jam
  • Honey or sugar, sweeten to taste, start with 1 cup
  • Salt, to taste, start with ½ tsp
  • Cinnamon, start with 2 Tbsp
  • Cloves, start with 2 Tbsp

Note: Fruit quantities should be divided into 3 portions. Tomatoes/Tomatillos make 1/3, Apples another 1/3 and any other fruit, dried fruit and cranberries you want to add make up the other 1/3

Place green tomatoes in a large pot, cover half way with water. Bring to a boil. Mash with a potato masher. It should be the consistency of runny applesauce, add more water if necessary. Add applesauce and other fruits. Simmer slowly and stir often, every 10-20 minutes so it doesn’t scorch. After a couple hours, the fruit should be mostly broken down, and the consistency should be similar to thick applesauce. Add honey or sugar, to taste, along with the cinnamon and cloves. Once you’re pleased with the flavor, simmer for another hour to allow flavors to blend together. Cool.

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