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Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Mincemeat on 07/13/2009 19:58:50 MDT Print View

In June Fleming's The Well-fed Backpacker, on page 121, there's a recipe called Orange-Mincemeat Bars that I'd really like to try. It calls for "1 1/2 cups prepared mincemeat." The intro refers to 28-ounce jars. Searched groceries locally, only found one thing, and not sure it's right. It's just essentially spiced apples and raisins in really sugary syrup, sort of a brown slurry. No nuts, no beef, no suet.

Looked up real mincemeat on the web. With citrus peel, beef, suet, but not nuts. It also calls for real currants (not the raisin kind) which don't seem to be available anywhere but New York (and maybe your garden).

Can anyone throw any light on what sort of "mincemeat" would make sense here? I would really like to try these bars for our hikes.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Mincemeat on 07/13/2009 20:32:59 MDT Print View

Fresh currants? I find them at farmers markets or in natural food stores produce sections often! They are tiny round berries.

As for the mincemeat, I would hedge it is calling for the non-meat kind. I haven't seen the meat type since I was a kid sold commercially.....

Charles Vandenbelt
(chuckwagon) - F

Locale: Nashville
Mincemeat ... on 07/14/2009 01:40:06 MDT Print View

Hi, if I'm not mistaken the "mincemeat" you're referring to is indeed the fruity/peel type. It's pretty much something from the British. In Australia, at Christmas, the shops are flooded with "mince tarts" which are sort of like a butter tart only smaller, And, instead of the butter, raisins and brown sugar filling you have the mincemeat. I hope this helps. Maybe try in the International foods section ? Or a British food specialty shop ? Regards, Charlie.

Michael Moccia
(MadMoe) - MLife

Locale: The Lone Star State
Mmmmmmm........Mincemeat! on 07/14/2009 04:12:01 MDT Print View

I like the stuff in the box. Back in the day I ate it straight from the block during winter trips or used it in oatmeal. Its like a brick. Hard to find too.

A major sugar rush...........Great for Thanksgiving on the trail.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
want me to get you a recipe? on 07/14/2009 07:31:34 MDT Print View

Give me a day or two and I will get my father-in-law to send me his mincemeat recipe if you like (just let me know if you want the recipe). He's English and this is a delicious old-time family recipe but does require some prep. Many commercially prepared mincemeats don't have the suet and are basically super-sweet fruit concoctions.

Dicentra OPW
(dicentra) - F

Locale: PNW
Fresh Currants on 07/14/2009 07:56:55 MDT Print View

I've seen them on occasion at Trader Joes too.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Mincemeat, currants, recipes on 07/14/2009 09:36:18 MDT Print View

Laurie Ann, A recipe would be swell! If you post it here maybe some other folks would like it too.

Michael, Thanks for the link. The box kind isn't showing up as available anywhere near me, though, on their retail search. But I'll keep an eye out for it. Maybe it shows up in the fall.

Dicentra, Sarah, I haven't seen fresh currants in Texas; maybe it's too hot here to grow them locally, I don't know. I frequent the farmers markets around here, but will also give a call to a couple of specialty places that have produce from all over.

I suppose many mincemeat recipes just use the raisin kind of currants, so maybe I'll end up with that.


David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Suet adds calories? on 07/14/2009 10:13:35 MDT Print View

Wouldn't mincemeat with suet have higher calories/oz. than something that is just sugars? (Might go rancid, tho')

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Suet adds calories? on 07/14/2009 10:23:52 MDT Print View

Yes it would...but also, yes, it can go rancid. It also is pretty hard to find these days. (Mostly due to consumers not eating animal fats as much). It is also a very acquired taste....
You can make your own, but yeah, there are better things to eat and easier to make.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
mincemeat on 07/14/2009 19:14:12 MDT Print View

I'll send an email off to Nigel and post it when he gets back to me.

Mina's original post mentioned mincemeat bars and if it is cooked and the outside temps are moderate I can't see it going rancid for at least a few weeks in the pack. I think the pectin in the fruits may help with spoilage over the short term.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
in the meantime... on 07/14/2009 19:26:23 MDT Print View

While we wait to hear back from my father-in-law I thought I'd see what old cookbooks I have kicking around. I found some oldies. I've never tried this recipe but it is from an antique Mennonite community cookbook... looks like it makes enough for a community too... lol. When reading the recipe I have visions of my grandma's hand food chopper that Dad used to still use even though we had an electric food processor. It says to seal in jars and this book is from before refrigeration so I would presume that it is shelf-stable.

Mincemeat for Pies

1 1/2 pounds beef
1 1/2 pounds pork
1/3 pound suet
2 pounds seedless raisins
2 pounds dried currants
2 pounds granulated sugar
1 pound brown sugar
2 oranges
2 lemons
1/2 pound citron
2 quarts chopped apples
1 cup molasses
2 teaspoons ground cloves
3 teaspoons each of cinnamon and ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup cider

Cook beef, pork and suet until tender.
Mince fine or grind through food chopper.
Cook raisins and dried currants until soft.
Chop citron, apples, oranges and lemon very fine or grind through coarse blade of food chopper.
Add meat and other ingredients and simmer together for 12 minutes.
Put in jars and seal while hot.
Makes 7 quarts.

edited... because I apparently don't know how to spell "electric"

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 07/14/2009 19:27:31 MDT.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
as promised... the recipe Nigel uses on 07/16/2009 15:37:56 MDT Print View

GRANDMA’S CENTENNIAL MINCEMEAT - Nigel's modified version

6 Cups Apples Approx. 8 large apples (I use Spartans)
3 Lemons
4 Cups Brown Sugar
3 Cups Seedless Raisins
3 Cups Currants
1/2 Pkg Ground Suet (I use Maple Leaf)
1 Cup Mixed Candied Fruit (I use only cherries & pineapple)
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
3/4 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Allspice
1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Apple Juice
1/4 Cup Brandy or Rum

Grate the peel off the lemons and squeeze the juice into a large bowl. Peel, Core and chop the apples into the bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well and put in a large pot. Cook the mincemeat until the raisins and apples are tender.

I usually adjust the spices to my own taste during the cooking process. After cooking I put the mincemeat in sterilized 1 Qt. sealers and store until needed.

You can make your pie with this mix or store covered it in the fridge for up to two weeks. Freeze it if you wish to keep it longer.

It has been suggested that if it is necessary to find a substitute for suet, you can take lard, freeze it, and then grate it before putting it into the recipe. The same thing could also be done with vegetable shortening. (I have never tried this method).