Grandma's Green Tomato Mincemeat
-in loving memory of Mary Gustafsson Thompson and
Helen Thompson Cummins
My little Swedish granny (see pic, ~1914) used
to make this in the fall, when the first freeze threatened the last of the garden crops. She brought the recipe
to America when she immigrated from Sweden in the beginning of the 1900s, and it became a family thing as the years
After she passed in 1956 my mother took over. She
would gather the last of the season's green tomatoes from her garden and very shortly we'd be seeing lovely quart
jars of mincemeat cooling on the kitchen table and smelling the fragrance of it all through the house.
Eventually it became my turn, being the only sibling
actually interested in it. And as we kids went our separate ways in life it seemed the recipe might disappear with
me. So now I'm sharing it with you in the hope that its story and deliciousness will continue through the corridors
of time as a legacy from my mother and grandmother.
The original recipe, which Grandma brought over
from Sweden, called for lingonberry juice, but that ingredient was in short supply in her new homeland so she substituted
raspberry juice, which she probably made herself using whole berries and a juice bag (google it). Later on, because
it was easy to find, Mom gave cranberry juice or cranapple juice a try and that worked out fine, too.
Today I have easy access to raspberry juice again
so we're back to the almost-original recipe. It's much better than storebought mincemeat (isn't everything?) and
for my vegetarian friends it's vegetarian friendly, too. Not a trace of meat in it!
I never did get to try it with lingonberry juice
though. I wonder how that would taste?
- 12 very green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 6 large pears, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 9 large tart apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 4 1/2 C. seedless raisins
- rind of 3 oranges, coarsely ground
- 3 Tbsp grated lemon rind
- 1 C. raspberry juice (from concentrate)
- 1/3 C. orange juice
- 1/3 C. lemon juice
- 3 C. light molasses
- 1 C. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
Place all ingredients, except spices, in a large
kettle; bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and let simmer uncovered for about 40 minutes until ingredients
are tender and the mixture has thickened a bit. Then add spices, mix thoroughly and cook 5 minutes longer.
Using a ladle, pack at once in clean, hot pint
or quart jars, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace. Debubble, adjust headspace. Carefully wipe the rims of the jars,
put the flat lids on and secure with the screw band canning rings.
Place jars carefully on the wire rack in the canner;
bring the water back to a full rolling boil, cover with lid and process in the canner (at a boil) for 25 to 30
minutes for pint jars or 45-50 minutes for quart jars. The water should be about 2 inches above the tops of the
jars; keep a teakettle of water hot on another burner in case you need to top it off.
When the time is up remove the canner's lid, turn
off the heat and let the jars sit as they are for five minutes.
Remove the jars from the canner and place them
on towels or wire racks somewhere away from drafts and let them sit for 12 to 24 hours to cool. You should hear
a "pop" when the lids seal. Once the jars are cool, remove the screw bands and check the flat lids to
make sure they have sealed. If any haven't properly sealed, put those jars in the refrigerator as "having
been opened" and use them first.
Wipe the other jars down, label and date them,
and store in a cool dark place with the screw bands off.
To make a mincemeat pie you will need about 4 cups
(1 quart) of mincemeat for an 8 inch or a small 9 inch pie.
Makes 7 quarts.