What is mincemeat? I can't say I've ever had the genuine article, which is apparently made with meat pieces and suet. What I make is primarily sweetened and minced green tomatoes and apples, along with raisins. It is then stewed in a tangy spice mix until thick. I can it, and occasionally take out a jar to use as fillings for pies, coffee cakes, muffins; or even as a topping for plain muffins or toast. It lets me recapture those autumn fragrances all winter long; and the smell will give a warm and homey feeling to the kitchen on a cold and blustery day.
The challenge for me most years is having enough green tomatoes and apples available at the same time. I won't use grocery store apples for this, but wait for those times when somebody has too many from their own tree to use for themselves. This year I bought several bags from Janice B.'s trees at the Nazareth bake sale. Joe's mom had brought me a bunch of green tomatoes, but I didn't have time to make the mincemeat that week. Now those tomatoes are all turning red, so they will become spaghetti sauce instead. When I mentioned to Jan D. on our morning walk yesterday that I was disappointed I didn't get my mincemeat done, she said she had plenty of green tomatoes left. Wow! She sent them over with her daughter yesterday afternoon.
I got this recipe from my mom, and I believe my grandma made it the same way. I certainly associate it with Grandma's house, but perhaps that is a fabricated memory. Here's what I believe is the the recipe the way I originally got it from Mom, but I've added commentary within parenthesis.
Green Tomato Mincemeat
8 c green tomatoes
Mince the tomatoes, mix with salt, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain well.
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice (I have this crossed out on my recipe. I don't know why, but since it's crossed out, I don't use it.)
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
2 lbs currants
1 lb raisins (I never keep currants on hand, so I generally use 2 lbs of raisins and omit the currants.)
4 c peeled and minced or grated apples
6 c brown sugar (I cut the sugar to 3 1/2 cups. Again, I don't remember why. But it is plenty sweet this way.)
1/2 c vinegar
Stir tomatoes into the rest. Cook slowly for 3 hours (or so; watch carefully so it doesn't scorch. I've done this in a crock pot. Probably one could bake it, too, either within a pan of water, or with one sitting on a different rack. I'm notorious for letting things scorch on my stovetop, so this step is the hard part for me.)
Pack immediately into clean and hot jars. Arrange pre-heated seals and rings, then tip upside down for a few minutes.
Or process in canner 30 minutes. (I've never processed mine, and although the experts would frown upon this, I've kept it for up to 2 1/2 years. It's always stayed good.)