Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time To Make Mincemeat

It's sixty degrees in the house today-so I'm firing up the canner! First up-mincemeat.

I really wanted to use Jenn's recipe again this year, but getting your hands on suet around here is all but impossible. I could order it by post, but spending close to ten bucks a pound( plus postage) for what is essentially a by-product that is normally tossed-out is not something I'm willing to do. I have a suet-less recipe this year (with cranberries and cider-isn't that neat?) and a suet-less recipe for the Christmas pud (which should be made soon so it can ripen).

Looking in the pantry, I noticed that I didn't have sherry and only barely enough brandy. Well, that wouldn't do, particularly as there's a long tradition of moistening the cook with brandy along with the dried fruit. I didn't feel like driving to Omaha, so I went to the store fifteen miles from home (yeah, that's considered "close") expecting to over-pay a bit.

I might have gone a wee bit overboard, but the grocery store was clearing out their liquor department. If you live in Eastern Nebraska and can get to the No Frills in Ashland-do so. I came home with three dollar bottles of decent wine and some very cheap (but good) brandy. It was well before noon, and I admit to being a little self-conscious as I loaded all that hooch into the grocery carriage, but a deal is a deal-and that was a very good deal. Unfortunately, they didn't have any sherry. I'm going to substitute and I'm sure it will be fine-I think I have a bottle of Madeira lurking in the kitchen somewhere.

The mincemeat recipe is cooked for an hour and a half, and then put through the canner for thirty minutes-so I know what I'll be doing while Danny naps. I'm using pint jars rather than quarts, and I'm not sure if I ought to reduce the processing time to twenty minutes. With all that booze and lemon juice it is unlikely that any food borne pathogens are going to make it anyway-but I do like to follow directions. I think a call to the local extension office might be in order.

I'll post the recipe with the photographs later tonight, or tomorrow. Then, I start steaming puddings. That ought to warm up the house.

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