Traditional mincemeat has been under attack in recent months. Real Mincemeat is made from a small list of specific ingredients. The Jam and Similar Products Regulations 2013 sought to deregulate the ingredients and percentage of sugar content. Mincemeats are uniquely British, their origin established firmly for centuries.
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.
Following objections to the deregulation from me and my MP Tessa Munt, DEFRA have decided to leave Mincemeat unchanged. During a debate, led by Tessa about the Jam and Similar Products Regulations 2013 in Westminster Hall on 30th October, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice responded to the objections. The standards set out in the 2003 regulations for mincemeat, if removed “could stimulate the introduction of products that are materially different from our current traditional mincemeat products. So, as a direct result of the cogent arguments put forward in the consultation process, including a response from my hon. Friend’s constituent, Mrs Lloyd, we will retain unchanged the national provisions for fruit curds and mincemeat.”
Each year, new twists on mincemeat recipes appear in cookery 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 and it will be ready for Christmas.
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
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 together in a large bow.
2. Grate the rind of the lemons, juice them and add to the bowl. Stir in the suet, sugar and mixed spice. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave at room temperature for three days. Stir the mixture two to three times a day.
3. Add 150ml 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.