A rich, spicy preserve made of fruit (usually chopped cherries, dried apricots, apples or pears, raisins and candied citrus peel), nuts, beef suet, various spices and brandy or rum. Old-time mincemeats included minced, cooked lean meat (usually beef)—hence the name. Most modern versions do not use meat. The ingredients are combined, then covered and allowed to mature for a month for the flavors to mingle and mellow. Commercially prepared mincemeat is available in jars in most supermarkets—particularly around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mincemeat can be used in many dishes including pies, tarts, puddings and cookies.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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