Some of our most cherished childhood memories center on food preparation, and Christmas is a fantastic opportunity for getting children into the kitchen. Homemade gifts have personal appeal, and with thought children can add their own twists to traditional recipes. This mincemeat recipe contains no alcohol but you can substitute the fruit juice for something stronger – with parental permission. It is also nut free and uses vegetarian suet. Reduced fat varieties are now available.
Mincemeat is a no-cook recipe and adapts well to the classroom setting – lots of weighing, chopping and stirring. You can add peeling too, if you would prefer to peel the apples – it is not necessary.
Stirrin’ Stuff Mincemeat
Makes 6 jars ready to bake your own mince pies!
What to find:
Juice of 6 oranges (400ml / 2 cups)
100g / 1/2 cup dried apricots
100g / 1/2 cup dried cherries
750g / 3 1/4 cup mixed dried fruit
100g / 1/2 cup dried cranberries
350g light Muscovado sugar / soft brown sugar
250g / 1 1/4 cup light shredded suet (packet)
225g / 1 cup tart cooking apples, washed, cored and finely chopped (e.g. 1 large Bramley apple, or two small Granny Smith apples)
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps nutmeg
Large mixing bowl
What to do:
1. Wash the lemon, lime and one of the oranges. Grate the rind from the citrus fruits, but be careful not to grate the pith (white) of the fruits. Put the rinds into the mixing bowl.
2. Cut all of the citrus fruits in half. Twist the halves around a citrus squeezer to get the juice out. Put the juice in a measuring jug.
3. Weigh out the apricots and cherries and younger children can use a rounded ended knife to chop them into small pieces. Put the chopped fruit into the mixing bowl.
4. Weigh out the dried fruit, cranberries, sugar and suet and add to the mixing bowl.
5. Add the chopped apple, fruit juices and spices to the mixing bowl.
6. Place a damp cloth under the mixing bowl (to stop it from moving) and gently stir the ingredients together. Little stirs, keep everything in the bowl.
7. Cover the bowl and leave the mincemeat in a cool place for 24 hours.
8. Use a dessert spoon to carefully pot the mincemeat into sterile jam jars. Cover the jars with a lid and store in a refrigerator until use.
Use equal quantities of dried fruits e.g. sultanas, currants and raisins.
Always cover wounds before cooking; this is especially important when juicing lemons because the juice can sting.
Use a whole nutmeg to grate your own nutmeg powder. Find out what mace is.
Try changing the dried fruit – use chopped tropical dried fruits or dried blueberries instead.
Make ‘designer covers’ for the pots of mincemeat and give them away as Christmas presents.
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