Q.: It’s that time of year when thoughts go to good things to eat. I remember helping Mom make mincemeat filling for her great pies. A weekend event, going from store to store gathering all the ingredients, including special types of apples and five gallons of specific cider, neck meat (venison preferred). We started boiling down cider about 6 a.m. She had a Glenna Snow cookbook at hand but I don’t recall her using it. Cooked it up, canned it and then baked two giant pies with lard crusts.
Last time [we canned mincemeat] was in the late 1970s. I have the last Ball jar of filling. Do I dare bake a mincemeat pie using close-to-40-year-old homemade mincemeat pie filling? It still looks like the day we canned it. I would like to bake a real pie to celebrate our 50th. My wife would accept your recommendation.
— C.F., Mogadore
A.: My advice is to not use that mincemeat, especially if you want to be around to celebrate your 51st. Sounds like a recipe for food poisoning to me. Home-canned products should be eaten within one year for best quality.
However, I am including the Glenna Snow recipe for old times’ sake, and a current recipe for traditional mincemeat in case you want to try to make a fresh batch.
MINCEMEAT TO CAN
Take 6 cups chopped or ground meat, packed down, 3 cups chopped or ground suet, 12 cups chopped or ground apples, 2 cups molasses, 2 cups boiled cider, 3 cups meat broth, 4 cups sugar, 3 packages raisins, 2 teaspoonfuls cinnamon, 2 teaspoonfuls nutmeg, 2 teaspoonfuls salt, 1 teaspoonful cloves, 1 teaspoonful allspice and citron, orange and lemon peel, according to taste. Cook slowly ½ hour until it comes to a boil, stirring frequently. This will fill 7 quart jars. When using add 1 cup coffee to each quart and more sugar if desired. — Mrs. H.W. McGregory
— Glenna Snow’s Cook Book, 1938
MINCEMEAT — TRADITIONAL
5 cups cooked ground beef (about 2 lbs.)
1 quart ground suet (about 1 lb.)
3 lbs. raisins, mixture of light and dark
2 lbs. dried currants
3 quarts chopped, peeled, cored, tart apples (about 12 medium)
⅓ cup finely chopped orange peel (about 1 large)
1½ cups chopped orange pulp (about 2 large)
1 (8-oz.) package candied citron, chopped
4½ cups brown sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. allspice
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. ginger
1 quart sweet apple cider or white grape juice
¼ cup lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot; simmer 30 minutes. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Pack hot mincemeat into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 1 hour and 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.
Makes about 12 pints or 6 quarts.
— Ball Blue Book of Preserving
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