Some years I make my own mincemeat for Christmas, if I leave myself enough time. This one is best left for a month or so to let the spirit and spices mature the fruit. You can use the traditional beef suet or, of course, a vegetarian suet. A healthy alternative to the suet is a few tablespoons of olive oil which works very well.


  • 4 oz / 110 g dried apricots, soaked overnight
  • 4 oz / 110 g sultanas
  • 4 oz / 110 g lexia or muscatel raisins
  • 4 oz / 110 g currants
  • 4 oz / 110 g peeled, cored and grated russet apples
  • 4 oz / 110 g finely chopped mixed peel or marmalade
  • 4 oz / 110 g light or dark muscovado sugar
  • 4 oz / 110 g grated suet
  • juice and grated zest of 2 lemons or 2 oranges
  • 5 tbsp rum or calvados
  • 5 tbsp cognac


Chop, mince or lightly process the dried fruit, but take care not to turn it into a paste. Mix with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and allow the flavours to develop for 2–3 days. Pack into clean jars, fill to the top, and place waxed paper discs on top. Seal the pots with dampened cellophane covers, secured with rubber bands. Or pot in Kilner jars. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.