Frugal Mincemeat

I’ve added the finished result as the mincemeat took three hours to slowly cook. The house smells fruity and spicy. I like the large lumps of apple, which are cooked but still have their shape. I made four large jars for 89p per jar and each jar would make 24 mince pies. It’s a very cheap yet indulgent treat to eat throughout December and the New Year and nothing beats homemade. The full ‘how to’ is below.

I’ve had another happy day pottering about my kitchen and after seeing Christmas goods in the supermarket today, I thought I ought to start making some things to spread out the cost.

The recipe and full instructions for this can be found by Googling “Delia Smith Mincemeat” and you will find her methods and instructions on the BBC food site. You can make this and not cook it, but by cooking it, you will stop the apples from fermenting and making the jars explode. This will last for years but I give a jar each to family members in advance of Christmas so they can make mince pie with the gift I give them. I have adapted the recipe and haven’t included the expensive dried fruit but substituted the cheaper mixed fruit instead of singular packs of fruit, peel and I omitted the almonds, which are expensive. Even though I have made this cheaply, it knocks spots off anything you can buy as it has so much more flavour and texture. Ingredients: 3 large cored and diced cooking apples, zest and juice of 2 lemons and 2 oranges, 350g of soft dark brown sugar, 4 teaspspoons of mixed spice, half teaspoon nutmeg, half teaspoon of cinnamon, 6 tablespoons of sloe gin (should have been brandy but I don’t have any) 1 250g pack of suet (I used beef suet but you can use veggie suet).

How to make mincemeat. Pour two packs of dried mixed fruit into a large pan/casserole dish. Remove zest off citrus fruit and add to the mixed fruit.

Add the suet.

Squeeze the lemons and oranges.

Dice the apple – I leave mine in biggish lump as I don’t want my mince pies to be just goo.

Stir everything together.

Add the sugar – you can see now that I’ve remembered that I am going to slow cook this in the oven and have now transferred this to a casserole dish!! Doh!

Add the cinnamon.

And the nutmeg.

And the mixed spice.

And the fruit juice.

And what every kind of wintery booze you have, if you have rum, sherry or brandy, then add six tablespoons.

Stir everything together, place a loose lid or loose foil over the dish and place in a low oven, 120ish for three hours. Whilst typing this, I remembered that I could have saved the electricity and had made this in my slow cooker. Which ever method you use, leave it in the oven for around three hours until everything is soft and cooked. More photos to come when I take it out of the oven.


18 thoughts on “Frugal Mincemeat

  1. thats a good idea about using the slow cooker, im going to give that ago. ive bought some fruit mix for making everyone a xmas cake. last year i used Nigella Lawsons recipe i got off the internet. it was a huge success. i havent made mincemeat tarts since i was a little kid….more than 30 years ago


  2. I've just got to try this recipe. The next recipe I wanted to do was your chutney recipe, (the one with some chillies) but this one just might have to come first…After the Crab apple jelly and apple and blackberry jam!..LOl
    Love your blog, and have been reading it for a while -you are such an inspiration.
    Kind regards,


  3. You have made me want to make mince pies now, looked yummy.
    My mum gets some sweet puff pasty and rolls it out quite thin, then puts mincemeat on one end, then rolls the pastry up and as she does keeps add a bit more mincemeat so it, untill it ends up like a gaint rolly polly…Em x


  4. Hi Morgan – if I were making this in the slow cooker then I would set it to low and leave it on over night.

    Sharon – I have used onl mayonaise jars but any jar jar will do. To sterilise them, you wash them in hot soapy water and then put them in the oven for ten minutes. To sterilise the lids and to get rid of any old odours, I boil mine in a pan of water. You must put preserves into a hot jar and the preserves must still be very hot. Get the lids on whilst the preserves and jars are still hot and seal the pots. The reducing heat will create a vacuum and will ensure that your preserves stay mould free. The mincemeat will have congealed fat around the top that will also add to the preseriving. It will last indefinitely but as I said before, I give these to family members. My sister's kids, like mine are grown up but like mine, they still come home for mum's cooking.


  5. ooh thank you, will do this in the slow cooker next weekend, am making my brother a Christmas food hamper, and he loves mince pies, so will make lots of this and just use it as needed, so will make his pies just before i give him the hamper. cannot wait i love the smells of Christmas in the house 🙂


  6. ooh thank you, will do this in the slow cooker next weekend, am making my brother a Christmas food hamper, and he loves mince pies, so will make lots of this and just use it as needed, so will make his pies just before i give him the hamper. cannot wait i love the smells of Christmas in the house 🙂


  7. oooh, lovely!
    My mum used to make quite a lot of mince meat, but used to soak the dried fruit in brandy first – we used to come in and pinch a spoonfull of boozy fruit, until there wasn't enough left to make the mince meat!



  8. Hi Donna, the packs from Tesco are 500g and Asda sell the same, they are around 60p per pack. I buy them when I see them cheaper and they store. They were 69p in Tesco yesterday. I don't buy nuts, or peel or cherries as I think a good mixed fruit mix will do just as well


  9. Oooh I'm going to veggi-version this and make it in the slow cooker. Made green/mixed tom chutney today (Nigel Slater recipe which just gives a small yield – perfect as I'm the only one who eats it!) – it is fab – freestyled my second batch with red pepper …. mmmmmm.


  10. I have this is the slow cooker now and just came back to see how long to leave it for. I will do as you suggest and leave it overnight – the house should smell wonderful in the morning! Thank you for this.


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