While the jar of mincemeat doesn’t specifically say that you have to use it in x days after you’ve opened it, you’re probably better off if you do. Last year’s mincemeat won’t be unusable in 12 months’ time, but it is harder and you have to work more to get it out of the jar. Plus, even though this year’s first batch of mince pies was made with last year’s mincemeat and nobody died, it probably can’t be *that* hygienic.

So what DO you do with that last pesky half a jar? I rooted through my recipe folder and found a recipe for mincemeat cake, which I had never made before and which is going down a storm. It’s very moist thanks to the butter in the cake mix and the suet in the mincemeat, so will keep for days without drying out or you needing to feed it like a traditional Christmas cake. The mixture of spices in the mincemeat, too, makes the cake very reminiscent of a good pain d’épices. Recipes for mincemeat cake abound, with choices available from Delia Smith and The Guardian making up just a few of them.

A colleague also brought in mincemeat flapjacks before the holidays. I had never tried mincemeat in this incarnation before either: sandwiched between two layers of flapjack mix and then baked, it’s both stunningly simple and amazingly tasty in this form. Other various wacky alternatives are also available across the internet:

Mincemeat squares

Mincemeat and apple meringue tart

Mincemeat and raisin muffins

Raspberry, ricotta, and mincemeat ravioli

So even though it’s January – the month of austerity and diets (ew) – there are still plenty of ways to get creative in the kitchen and avoid wasting food. Merry new year 😀

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