Some of you may ask “what is lemon curd?” The best thing since sliced bread, I say. Let me explain a little about the joy of lemon curd and how delectable it is, plus entice you to want to try this wonderful creation. I first had lemon curd about 10 years ago while I was into making wedding cakes, and because I like all things lemon I fell in love with it. I need to express to you that homemade lemon curd is incredible. Lemon curd was a tradition in the the 19th and 20th century for spreading on scones and crumpets at afternoon tea (very British). Lemon curd was also used in pies, pastries and cakes. Lemon curd is similar to pie filling but the texture is smoother and the flavor more intense. Pie filling is thickened with flour or cornstarch while lemon curd uses egg yolks and natural pectin in the zest and juice of the lemon. The secret to the smooth texture in lemon curd is butter unlike the commercial pie fillings.
While researching about the origin of lemon curd, I couldn’t help but look up the different varieties of lemons and the origin of the lemon, it was so very interesting. It is undetermined what the original origin of the lemon is but scientist suggest they have been grown for over 2,500 years in northeast India. At first they were grown for ornamental use and it wasn’t until the 10th century that they became cultivated for consumption. Lemons were brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus and the Spanish conquest continued there spread but primarily as ornamental plants and for medicine. Finally, lemons began growing in California in the 1750′s and then in Florida in the 1800′s. The lemons that we buy in the store today are usually of 2 different types the Eureka and Lisbon lemon. I was surprised to learn that there are so many different varieties of lemons like the Avalon, Bearss, Buddas Hand or Citron, Bush Lemon, Dorshapo and Meyer, which is not really a true lemon, its a hybrid of lemon and mandarian orange.
Well, enough of the history lesson on lemons let’s talk about how to make the curd. I used a fellow blog friend Smithbites recipe for my curd. My friend at Bunkycooks teaches a great way to preserve lemons as well as this other great tutorial I found at Bake Cupcakes, I’m thinking of trying that next.
I know what your thinking now, what will you make with 4 jars of lemon curd? Well, you could give one jar away to a fellow foodie who will appreicate it. Another jar could be used to make my lemon cream crostata (tasty). Don’t forget to use one for spread on some yummy scones, waffles, pancakes or toast. Last but not least why not just eat the final jar. What ever you decide to do, make the most of the citrus season by using these beautiful nutrient rich fruits we are so blessed to enjoy.
1 large bag of lemons (about 8- 10 med-large)
1 cup of juice from the lemons
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
6 T. of un-salted butter
zest of 3 lemons
4 pint jars
water bath canner or steamer
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Step 1: Directions
Step 1: Prepare jars by washing with hot soapy water or dish wash them and dry with clean towel. Get canner ready and lids out.
Step 2: Zest the 3 lemons and set zest aside. Cut lemons in half and juice to get one cup or 8 oz.
Step 3: In a double boiler whisk together the eggs,yolks,sugar and lemon juice. Fill the boiler pot with a few inches of water and let water come to boil then turn to simmer but let the water boil slightly.
Step 4: Put the lemon mixture over the boiler and with a whisk keep the mixture moving until a thermometor reaches 170 degrees or about 20 min. The mixture will foam and become thick too.
Step 5: Take the curd off the heat and stir in butter and zest until all is combined.
Step 6: Fill the jars using a wide mouth canning funnel to keep the curd off the lip of the jars. Using the hot water from the water bath put the lids in to soften the plastic that will end up sealing your jars. While the lids are getting soft wipe the lip of the each jar with a clean paper towel. Drain lids from the water and put on the jars. Screw on the top lid but not too tight.
Step 7: I use a steam canner which is a cinch and takes very little water to get going. Get the water boiling in either type of canner you have and process cans for 5 min. following manufactures directions on the your specific canner.
Step 8: When processing time is up lift the cans out with canning lifter and set on a kitchen towel to set for at least 24 hours. Then sit back and look at what you accomplished and smile
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