What is mincemeat?

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Mincemeat is a type of pastry that contains a variety of dried fruits, spices, and some alcohol like brandy or rum. People in modern times usually encounter mincemeat as a meat-free pastry and many vegetarians rave about this particular food item. Traditionalists though include meat into the recipe. As the term suggests, original mincemeat actually contained meat usually in the form of beef suet. Some people just substitute this meat part with other ingredients and spices. In modern times, diced and dried fruits such as apples and raisins are the main ingredients along with traditional spices like cinnamon and nutmeg among many others. Most mincemeat preparations are on the sweet side with lots of sugar added to the mix making it an ideal dessert.

The recipe for mincemeat was said to have been popular in the UK even during the 12th century. The mixture of chopped fruits and spices were very popular as agents for meat preservation. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg were considered the three main spices that help preserve meat like mutton. These three spices were also associated with the gifts that the three Magis brought to Jesus during the first Christmas. With this association, preparation of mincemeat was considered a Christmas tradition. Over the years, the spice recipe for the preservation of meat like mutton evolved with the addition of chopped and dried fruits by the 20th century. Apples, grapes, and citrus foods became the main ingredients of mincemeat but the spices and alcohol remained part of the main recipe. The meat part was typically excluded by many people and this is the reason most people are familiar with the meat-free mincemeat recipe and preparation. During Christmas, bakeries across the UK are able to sell millions of mincemeat pastries and pies because of its wide popularity even up to present times.

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