Did I Goof?

isa

3,236
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Joined Apr 4, 2000
I made the mincemeat for Christmas, figuring it would give a chance to the flavours to really developed. Once I put the mincemeat in sterilised jars I realised I had put in lemon juice, something I did not do last year. There is a lot of brandy and spice plus all the sugar of the fruits and the brown sugar I added.

Will it be safe to eat in four months? I’m not sure because of the lemon juice. I did not do process the jar in a water bath, but did boil the lid to activate the mason jar glue.
 
7,375
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Joined Aug 11, 2000
Should be fine, I use lemon in preserves all the time....did you use huge amounts or something? I also have citrus zest in my preserved food too.
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
Iza, The lemon juices acid will actually help in preserving, However without sterilizing your jars and only the lids may be a problem. When filling and closing off the jars you need the heat to form a vacum.If you have aloud an avenue for air to rest in your jar you do stand a risk of comtamination. I would remove the mincemeat,reheat it to 165 degrees for 15 minutes and add it to clean,hot jars with boiled lids and new gaskets
cc
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
I ditto Cape chef. But I'm not sure I follow....yes reheat to sterilize your mincemeat but then wouldn't she have to can it correctly?

I've done some canning in the past and from what I know you need to follow all the procedures correctly to have a product that holds over time. After you heat your mincemeat up and put them into your hot jars (although you can pack some items cold) you still have to boil them underwater for the needed length of time required for the type of product you have.

Is there an exception for mincemeat?

:confused:
 
4,508
32
Joined Jul 31, 2000
W.DeBord is right on the money.

The boiling after the mincemeat is in the jars will form a air tight seal.

Geez!!!Thats the most important step!!
Thanks W.Dbord
Sorry Iza
cc
 

isa

3,236
11
Joined Apr 4, 2000
Guess I forgot to mention a few things. I put the mason jars in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Remove them and put them in a 200°F pre heated oven for another 10 minutes or so. I boiled the lids for the correct time. Then I filled the jars put in the sealing lid and left it on the counter. I now put it in the fridge because I wasn’t sure if it would be safe to eat left at room temperature for four months.

The mince meat is made of mostly dried fruits and some candied fruits. Pecans, lots of spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, tiny amount of cloves and all spice. I used the zest and juice of one lemon. A little brown sugar lots of brandy.

I am not equipped to do real canning. I mentioned the idea of canning fruits and vegetables to my doctor she looks at me and said don’t you have enough problems as it is? I thought the brandy and the sugar contained in the fruits, and the little I added, would be enough to naturally preserved the mincemeat.

I did the same thing last year, minus the lemon juice. I made the mincemeat in October though , left it in the cupboards until Christmas. I opened the jar two days using it. Added a finely chopped apple let it rest covered in a bowl in the fridge. I then made the miniature tarts baked it for the allowed time and froze them, taste one my first taste of mincemeat, and gave it to my step mother for Christmas, and you know what she is still alive!


Thanks for all your help!
 
799
12
Joined Feb 21, 2001
You'll probably have to post that recipe so we can seriously offer an opinion on the canning process.
 

isa

3,236
11
Joined Apr 4, 2000
That might be a problem TBH, there is no recipe. My recipe is loosely based on three or four recipes. When I decided to make it this year I thought I would play it safe and actually measure what went in my mincemeat. I tried to take note as I was doing it but in the end I forgot to write down what I was adding. It must have been the brandy…Good plan if only I had actually follow through. Here is what I have.


1 cup raisins and cranberries - dried
1/2 cup mixed peel
1/3 cup candied fruits
4 prunes
8 apricots
1/4 cup cédrat (no idea what it is in English)
1/4 cup currants (the very small raisins)
2 figs
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons candied pineapple
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 dried pear
3/4 cup brandy
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar


Now is where it starts to be less precise. A bit of candied papaya for colour. A few slices of candied ginger. A touch of allspice and clove, more brandy. More spices another touch of brandy. Mix everything in a big bowl and pour into prepared jars. This is in essence what I did. Might be a little more spice and brandy...
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
Well since you don't actually have meat in your mincemeat it probably will be fine in the refridgerator. But I certainly would store it there, also if your baking it into something later that helps sterlize it again....don't under cook it. Did you lids **** in and create a hard presurized seal?

This is what I understand about canning and how I've done it also...First you have to have the right temp.s on your product, your jars and lids but the most important thing is the time it's boiled underwater. I kind of don't think using the oven works at all, it's doesn't create pressure on the lids.

It's confusing because you can can somethings hot or cold and other items only can be done when their hot. I think this all has to do with the acidity of the items. Then when you can items like mincemeat which aren't acid their rarely listed in canning books for timing.

I made salsa from my garden goodies and couldn't find any guidelines for canning it anywhere (but I figured it out and it worked). I have a couple of canning cookbooks but they really don't say more than the free pamplet that comes with the ball jars. Find something similar to mincemeat and cook it the same time plus a couple more minutes. Over cooking won't hurt it, usually.

I don't have a fancy set-up either....it really can be fun if you have the time. Yes if your not in great health and rushing around it can be frustrating.... A cheap old pot with a metal grid under it does the job. I found a great pot cheaply in a Mexican grocery store that fits more jars then the expensive pots designed for canning. ;)
 
799
12
Joined Feb 21, 2001
There's a classic book called Putting Food By that details how to can EVERYTHING. I'm reluctant to give advice on this subject because of the safety issues involved, even though I've canned before. You have to do it right. Thanks for the recipe guidelines. I've always wanted to make mincemeat and just might try it this year. Always wanted to do plum pudding but the suet thing scares me. The Frugal Gourmet has a great book on Christmas with all this kind of stuff.
 

isa

3,236
11
Joined Apr 4, 2000
Wendy I could not figure out what the **** stands for?

Thebighat you should know it’s not a very sweet mincemeat, you may want to adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste. Last year I made a “taste tube”. Just a small jar with a few teaspoons of mincemeat so I could taste it once in a while to see if it needed more spices or alcohol. I kept it beside the jars in the cupboard for two months. Now I know why you wanted the recipe. ;)

I am worried about the lemon juices because it is acidic. Who’s right does it help or does it provide a good environment for bugs of all kind? I am pretty sure I read about that somewhere only I can’t remember if it’s good or bad. Will the alcohol be enough to kill any organism that might develop? I do have to catch up on preserving.

Here's what I am thinking of doing. I will reopen the jars. Heat up the mincemeat mixture to 165°F for 15 minutes Will that affect the texture of the mincemeat? I wouldn’t want the fruits to all get mushy. I’ll add more brandy once the mincemeat has cooled down so the alcohol will not burn. Finally I will make sure it is all well packed in. I’ll use new jars, sterilised as before and close with new seals but no water bath.

Then I’ll hope for the best. It should be fine, after all it worked last year. Plus the mincemeat will cook in the tartelettes. I even froze them before giving them. All that heat and cold should kill any bugs that gets into it.

In Richard Sax’s Classic Home Desserts he talks about a British TV show where a panel was eating pie made with mincemeat that had been preserved for over 100 years. Once they found out they were not amused but none of them died…

Thanks for all your help, I really appreciate it!

P.S. Just found this information thought it might help others.

Foods that are low acid have a pH of more than 4.6 and because of the danger of botulism, they must be prepared in a pressure canner.

The low acidic foods include:

 meats
 seafood
 poultry
 dairy products
 all vegetables

High acid foods have a pH of 4.6 or less and contain enough acid so that the Clostridium botulinum spores can not grow and produce their deadly toxin. High acidic foods can be safely canned using the boiling water bath method.

The high acidic foods include:

 fruits
 properly pickled vegetables

Certain foods like, tomatoes and figs, that have a pH value close to 4.6 need to have acid added to them in order to use the water bath method. This is accomplished by adding lemon juice of citric acid.

[ August 12, 2001: Message edited by: Iza ]
 
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