To be honest I don't always make the effort since I don't eat a lot of mincemeat at christmas, but I did some last year and the mince pies went down so well that I decided to do it again this year.
Here's why I make my own mincemeat:
1. no candied peel. One of the few foody things I dislike is mass produced candied peel - the homemade stuff is fine, as my chocolate-covered orange peel fave sweetie attests.
2. vegetarian. Not a huge concern for me, and I believe a lot of shop-bought mincemeats are veggie now in any case, long gone are the days when beef suet was a staple ingredient, but it's good to know what's in there in any case, for those friends who are veggie. It's almost vegan, and if I were able to dig out some vegan trifle sponges or did an appropriate substitution it would be suitable.
3. no booze. You know I think booze in food is a waste and it dismays me that a lot of the better quality mincemeats are soaked in stuff that should really be served in a glass.
Making the mincemeat was also was the main foody tradition in our house at christmas, since we didn't really do christmas pudding and the christmas cake was only of modest proportions.
So here's the family recipe, it's far from traditional but makes a very fine product and is very easy. This recipe makes half a dozen jars and if you use veggie suet rather than butter, it will keep for months. Adapt with booze or mixed fruit if you really must.
11b cooking apples
1.5 lb sugar
0.5 lb veggie suet
1 box trifle sponges
1tsp ground mixed spice
1tsp ground nutmeg
Peel and core the apples, grate them into a large bowl.
Grate the lemon peel into the apples, then juice the lemon and add that as well.
Stir in the sultanas and raisins, then the spices, sugar and suet.
Crumble the trifle sponges into the mix, stir it well, cover with a clean teatowel and leave overnight at room temperature.
Stir again, then pack into sterilised jars and store in a cool, dark place.