Mincemeat has a history traceable back to the late seventeenth century following Cromwell’s two-year ban on Christmas festivities. After his death and once Christmas had been reinstated as a festival, the mincemeat we know today was introduced—a product with a quantity of vine fruits, sugar, citrus peel, suet or equivalent fat, and optional alcohol.

Each year, new twists on mincemeat recipes appear in cooking books and online. For me, there is only one recipe for mincemeat. It’s been around for the best part of a century, and it’s the one we made at Vale House Kitchen last week. Make it now as one of your gift ideas, and it will be ready for Christmas.

Mincemeat: Recipe

It makes about 3.25kg (7lb)

450g (1lb) cooking apples, peeled and cored ( prepared weight)
450g (1lb) currants
450g (1lb) seedless raisins
450g (1lb) sultanas
225g (8oz) candied peel
2 lemons
50g (2oz) flaked almonds
450g (1lb) soft brown sugar
450g (1lb) shredded suet
2.5ml (½ tsp) mixed spice
150ml Rum, Brandy or Whisky

1. Mince the apples, currants, raisins, sultanas, candied peel, and almonds using a food processor. Mix them together in a large bow.

2. Grate the rind of the lemons, juice them, and add them to the bowl. Stir in the suet, sugar, and mixed spice. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it at room temperature for three days. Stir the mixture two to three times a day.

3. Add 150 ml of rum, brandy, or whisky. Pot into jars to within 5mm from the top and cover with waxed discs and cellophane covers. Store in a refrigerator.

4. Leave for a few weeks to mature. Correctly stored, the mincemeat will keep for at least a year.