Mincemeat – “Mrs Lily Byford’s recipe”

This recipe for mincemeat comes from an old book that my Mum uses every year. It’s a cooked mincemeat, which means (according to both my Mum and the recipe book) that it will keep for not just weeks but even years! You can, of course, try adding some other things to it – Mum adds ground almonds, I think, while I added some dried cranberries. 2011 is the year of the homemade mince pie!

Mrs Lily Byford’s Recipe for Mincemeat


  • 450g peeled and chopped cooking apples
  • 450g soft brown sugar
  • 450g currants
  • 450g raisins (large if possible)
  • 450g sultanas
  • 225g whole mixed peel, thinly sliced
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • grated rind and juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 225g butter


Mix all thoroughly together in a large pan. Bring to the boil, stirring, and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before potting. (If the mincemeat is hot when it goes into the jars, it will shrink as it cools, making a nice vacuum seal with the ‘clicky lids’ popped in – you can tell it’s still good if they don’t click when pressed.) Makes about 3.25kg.