I must confess, I’m not the biggest fan of dried fruit, never mind Christmas-related sweet goodies like mince pies or Christmas pudding. However this year I thought I’d have a go at making my own lower sugar mincemeat based on apples, mainly because my parents’ apple tree at their cottage in Ripon had been particularly generous this autumn (check out the photo below!).

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So armed with a tonne load of apples, I made some of them into this absolutely delicious, flavoursome and comforting mincemeat. I’m obsessed with anything containing winter spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, so coupled with the citrus zing from the oranges and lemons plus the caramel tones of date nectar and Sukrin’s amazing brown sugar alternative, this makes for an incredible healthier alternative.

I’ll be sharing a few recipes showing how this basic mincemeat can be used but for now, get making it so you have it ready in the fridge when you fancy making something festive inspired!



  • 7-8 large cooking apples – homegrown if possible!
  • 1kg mixed dried fruit (I used a bag from Aldi with raisins, cranberries and goji berries)
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 tbsp Sukrin Gold (brown sugar alternative)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Dash of vanilla AND almond extract
  • 1 tbsp date nectar (Beloved is amazing)


Get making!

  1. Zest and juice the oranges and lemons together. Soak the dried fruit overnight in half of this mixture and a little water too, to cover.
  2. The next day, peel, core and chop the apples up. Place in a large pan with the remaining juice and zest, Sukrin Gold, spices and extracts with about 4 tbsp water. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 10 minutes, until starting to get quite soft.
  3. Add the dried fruit and the juice and zest it as soaked in, along with the date nectar syrup. If the mixture is looking a little dry, add a few more tbsp of water.
  4. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and you have a delicious mincemeat mixture.
  5. Remove from the heat, leave to cool and keep in a kilner jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.