November 22, 2019 6:59 am Leave your thoughts
All ready for Sunday? If you’re a keen baker (and a bit of a traditionalist), then we bet you are! Stir-up Sunday, the day on which Christmas puddings are traditionally prepared, falls on the 24th of November this year. Have you got everything you need?
What’s Stir-up Sunday?
It’s the day people on The Archers stir up all the ingredients for their Christmas puddings, yes – but it’s actually something completely different too. The date for Stir-up Sunday varies every year, just as Easter does, because it’s dependent on the Church of England’s calendar. It always falls on the last Sunday before Advent begins and is so-called because of the ‘collect’ for that day from the Book of Common Prayer, which begins with the words “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people’. (And that’s why everyone in The Archers goes to church before they put on their pinnies.)
Church-goers or not, this weekend is just about the perfect time to get stirring things up for Christmas. Traipsing home from church and grabbing a wooden spoon to mix a Christmas pudding has been a tradition since the Victorian times. All members of the family would work together and take turns making a wish as they stirred (mixing from East to West, to represent the journey taken by the Wise Men in the Christmas story).
Christmas puddings are usually made from a combination of dried fruit, flour, sugar, suet, spices and alcohol – some people include small silver coins or tokens in the mix too, all of which have a particular significance and are believed to bring luck. It’s a really good idea to make your pudding nice and early: it will develop in flavour as it matures, so once it’s been mixed, simply needs to be stored in a cool dark place. Top up your pudding (or, as the experts say, ‘feed it’) with a dash of alcohol every week – what nicer task could there be? – poking holes in the mixture with a skewer to let the liquor soak in.
At Naturally Good Food we begin preparing our Christmas packs of mixed dried fruit as soon as we’re all back from our summer holidays. Our special mix of organic currants, raisins and sultanas (along with our wonderful organic mixed peel) begins flying out of the door from late September onwards, destined for the very finest Christmas baking.
Let’s take a closer look at some of our Christmas pudding ingredients.
Organic mixed dried fruit
Our organic dried fruit tastes wonderful – simply bursting with the sunlight of Greece and Turkey. The currants explode on your tongue with a crunch of sweetness, while the raisins and mellow sultanas have a juiciness that’s just the right side of cloying.
We mix our own dried fruit in packs ranging from 500g to 3kg, and can, of course, also sell you the full bulk boxes of dried fruit, if you’d rather mix your own (and have an industrial-sized bath or bucket in which to do so). For those catering on a large scale, we also sell 5kg pre-prepared bags of mixed vine fruit, organic and non-organic.
Organic mixed peel
Organic mixed peel complements our mixed dried fruit perfectly and is in fact one of our biggest sellers throughout the year. We take beautifully bright, sweet organic lemon and orange peel from Italy and mix it in our own particular ratio. It’s ideal for Christmas cakes, Christmas puddings and mince pies: a little reminder of summer sun, in the depths of winter.
If your Christmas recipe calls for suet, then vegetable suet, made from hard palm and sunflower fat, gives the very lightest touch we can find. This suet is dairy-free and, importantly for many of our customers, gluten-free too.
Other Christmas ingredients
While you’re ordering in good time, why not take a look at the rest of our range? We’ve got all the unrefined sugar and organic spices you’ll need for the very best Christmas baking, along with a huge range of nuts and lots and lots of other dried fruit. Who says Christmas is all about currants and raisins? We’ve got the richest, fruitiest figs, prunes, apricots and dates, too!
As the big day draws nearer, we’ll continue to build on our Christmas range. Come back later on to check on our Advent calendars, chocolate treats and speciality Christmas goodies.
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This post was written by Yzanne