Brandied Fruit Mincemeat

Full of dried fruits, citrus and spices, this meatless mincemeat is the perfect ending to holiday meals. Add it to piecrusts or tart shells for a special dessert. Served with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream, it's utterly delectable.

Yield

makes about eight pint jars or four quart jars

Ingredients

8 cups diced cored peeled tart apples (such as Granny Smith)
4 cups cranberries
2 3/4 cups golden raisins (14 ounces)
2 cups dark raisins (10 ounces)
2 1/4 cups dried currants (11 ounces)
2 1/2 cups chopped dried figs (15 ounces)
1 1/3 cups ground seeded oranges*
1 cup ground seeded lemons*
1 cup mixed candied (glacé) peel
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
4 cups apple cider
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup dry sherry

Directions

In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine apples, cranberries, golden and dark raisins, currants, figs, ground oranges and lemon, candied peel, brown sugar and apple cider. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil, stirring occassionally, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare boiling water canner, jars, and lids. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Whisk in brandy and sherry. Remove fruit mixture from heat and stir in brandy-spice mixture. Return mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, and cook for 10 minutes.

Ladle hot pie mincemeat into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mincemeat. Wipe rim with clean cloth. Center lid on jar. Screw band (ring) down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 30 minutes, adjusting for altitude**. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. Store.

Additional Information

Since dried fruit is most often sold by weight, this recipe includes the approximate weights for the fairly lengthy list of ingredients required in this recipe. Bulk food markets offer a wide range of these foods.

* To seed and grind oranges and lemons, first halve the fruit lengthwise. Using the tip of a knife, remove seeds. Then cut into quarters or eights. Grind fruit (pulp and peel) in a food processor or food grinder until a fine to medium texture is achieved.

Read a recipe all the way through, even before you go shopping for the ingredients. It's very important to have all of the ingredients and equipment ready before you start making preserves.

** If you are canning above 1,000 feet sea level, see Canning Altitude Adjustments to find how much additional processing time is needed.

Place a clean towel on your work surface to absorb water from the hot jars as you take them out of the water bath (boiling-water) canner to be filled, and again once the jars are processed. The towel prevents hot jars from coming into contact with cooler countertops. Significant temperature differences can cause jar breakage.

A jar lifter is very helpful for handling hot, wet jars. Because they are bulky and fit loosely, oven mitts — even water-resistant types — are not a wise choice. When filling jars, an all-purpose rubber glove, worn on your helper hand, will allow you to steady the jar.

A clear plastic ruler, kept solely for kitchen use, will help you determine the correct headspace. Each filled jar should be measured accurately, as the headspace can affect sealing and the preservation of the contents.

When preparing jars and lids, prepare a couple extra in case your yield is larger than you expect. If you don't have enough jars, place any leftovers in an airtight container; store in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.

Before using jars, inspect them carefully for any chips, cracks or fractures. Discard any imperfect jars.

See Canning & Preserving Glossary for a description of terms used in this recipe.

Before canning each season, review canning procedures. See Canning & Preserving Basics to refresh your memory with the procedures.

Recipe Courtesy Of

Ball Home Preserving

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