How long must this mincemeat recipe be processed in a pressure canner?

Asked November 13, 2015, 1:26 PM EST

The well known Fannie Farmer Cookbook has the following recipe for traditional mincemeat. The processing time for pints is only 20 minutes, which is much shorter than the prescribed time in other meat-preserving recipes I have seen.

Is this recipe safe? I wondered if the inclusion of brandy mitigates the processing time?

Mincemeat I
The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 13th edition, ed. by Marion Cunningham

4 lbs chopped lean beef
2 lbs chopped beef suet
3 lbs dark-brown sugar
2 cups molasses
2 quarts cider
3 lbs dried currants
4 lbs raisins
1/2 lb citron, chopped
3 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 quart brandy
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon mace
1 tablespoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt

Put the beef, suet, brown sugar, molasses, cider, currants, raisins, and citron in a large pot. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and citron melt. Add the apples and cook until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and cook 15 minutes more, stirring frequently. Spoon into clean, hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Close the jars and process at 10 pounds pressure for 20 minutes. You can then store the mincemeat indefinitely. If you do not want to process it, it is safer to refrigerate.

Jefferson County West Virginia

1 Response

Apologies for the delayed response during the recent holiday break.

Your question was shared with Litha Sivanandan, WVU Extension Specialist for Food Safety and Food Preservation who offers this response:

"It is not safe to use any canning recipes from sources other than those which are referenced herein. These are the tested and approved recipes anyone can use. A recipe similar to what you provided is offered in the following reference books. This tested recipe's processing time is longer than what you have specified. Please use safe processing methods as described in these resources."

If interested, you can order the book, "So Easy To Preserve, 6th edition", and DVDs online at:

Litha also mentions that you can contact your county office to get local advise.

Should you want to follow-up with Litha about her suggestions, she can be contacted directly :

Litha Sivanandan, Ph.D
Phone: 304-293-7684