Now that the apples are in, and plenty of windfalls too, the pressure is on to process them before they go bad. As space forms in the freezer, I will be putting in sliced and puréed apples, but the more I can store in other ways the better and so, as usual, September finds me making mincemeat; the very first nod of acceptance of the existence of that winter festival thingy. Homemade mincemeat is miles better than even the best shop bought, and it really is a doddle:
1 lb bramley apples
8 oz suet
8 oz raisins
28 oz mixed dried fruit and peel
12 oz soft dark brown sugar
3oz flaked almonds
5 tsp ground mixed spice (mixed spice is a blend of cinnamon allspice and nutmeg)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 nutmug, grated
7fl oz brandy
Core and dice the apples ( you can leave the peel on, chop to the size of apple pieces you would like to find in your mincepies). Zest the oranges and lemons with a zester, then chop the zest up a bit.. Mix in all the rest of the ingredients, including the juice of the oranges and lemons, then pack into clean jars. The brandy content should help to keep the ingredients from going off, but I prefer to store the mincemeat in the fridge until used.
Actually making it in September is a good idea, not just from the using up apples side of things, but the mincemeat benefits from a couple of months maturing time in the fridge.
The smell of the spices, apples and citrus fruits filling the kitchen are a happy hint of nice things to come.