Gift from the Kitchen: Lemon Curd
I am a pretty good cook. There aren’t many things that I won’t or haven’t attempted in my kitchen. However, canning has always intimidated me. I have watched and helped with home-canning projects with friends & family, but never attempted any canning projects solo. To be honest, even as an accomplished home cook, I get nervous when I start reading reference guides and how-to’s on canning and preserving.
Out in the foodie media and blogosphere, interest and popularity in home canning and preservation has been building over the past couple of years. “Get Back to Basics!” the headlines in my favorite cooking magazines demand. The basics? Even though I am no novice in the kitchen, thoughts of canning often can conjure images of murky, mysterious, lava-hot liquids, second degree burns and equipment that resemble something out of a mad scientist’s lab. Hardly the basics. But this past summer, I screwed up my nerve and finally took a leap into the canning pool.
It turns out, home-canning is fairly simple. Yes, the procedure involves heat, but it’s no more death-defying a process than boiling spaghetti. Not rushing and having the right canning tools on hand are the keys to a successful and yummy end product. More often than not, canning just takes a bit of time and patience.
If you are making homemade gift this year, and looking for something simple but new, try Home-Canned Lemon Curd. This recipe is was one of the first recipes I tried canning on my own, and it is an excellent, 5-ingredient lemon curd recipe. It doesn’t take long–bonus! And it looks so pretty in a jar: like a bit of captured sunshine.
Lemon curd is one of those ingredients that sounds extravagant, but its beauty lies in its simplicity. This easy, but sure-to-impress recipe can be crafted in less than an hour. It involves the straightforward “boil process” canning method. The end result is a bright, beautiful gift your lucky recipients will want to eat from the jar with a spoon. Adorn these cheerful jars with a nice ribbon or attach a small bag of freshly baked scones, the perfect lemon curd companion.
If you need some canning supplies, CHEFS Catalog offers a full range of products, including an all-inclusive water bath canning kit from Granite Ware. This 9-piece set includes everything you need to get started except canning jars. Add the Leifheit Decorative Canning Jars and you are all set.
Your Turn: What fruits, veggies, & creations are you canning and preserving? Experienced canners: what tips & advice would you give to novice canners?
Adapted from The Martha Stewart Cookbook
Makes 4, half-pint jars. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions for the jar and lid preparation and sterilization.
4, half-pint canning jars with lids
Stock pot large enough to hold canning basket, or a canning pot
Canning basket or tongs to remove hot cans from pot
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3 lemons, juiced (1/2 cup)
1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
zest from the juiced lemons
Get jars and lids ready for canning according to manufacturer’s directions. This generally involves cleaning and heating the jars in warm water, and simmering the lids in a shallow pan for several minutes. Keep jars and lids warm until filling.
Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a small pot set over medium heat. Gradually add lemon juice, stirring with a wood spoon to avoid aerating the curd. Keep stirring for 10 to 15 minutes, adjusting heat to prevent boiling. Check for doneness with a metal spoon. When the curd is thick and coats the back ofthe spoon, it is ready. Stir in butter pieces.
Strain curd into a glass or stainless bowl through a mesh sieve to eliminate pieces of cooked egg. Whisk in zest.
Carefully pour the curd into prepared jars. Leave 1/2 inch between the curd and the top of each jar. Process the jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes (always start timing when the water begins to fully boil). Remove basket and allow jars to cool completely before handling.
A few notes:
- To help ensure thorough heating, use only half-pint jars for this canning project
- You can expect a shelf life of about two months
- Refrigerate after opening.
- Once opened, the curd should keep for about a week. Check for mold or a metallic taste when evaluating freshness.