In the house I grew up in, we had an outdoor cooler. It was a double-doored pantry where my mom stockpiled dried goods (like beans and rice) and all of her canned items. My mom canned the cherries from our trees, the peaches from neighbors, veggies, jams, and sauces. She canned like crazy. I helped her a couple of times and was mystified by all the jars and lids and bubbling water and wondered how the heck they stayed fresh out there in the non-refrigeration.
My dear friend gave me a great book called Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan. Looks like Marisa had the canning bug, too. Paging through it, I can’t help but think that my mom must have been in canning heaven with us living in the country, like we did, surrounded by all those amazing fruits and veggies. My mom would have smacked her lips at the thought of this recipe.
Feel free to whip this up in less than 20 minutes for a tasty treat, or keep the dream alive and can it, like I did!
Take 4-6 lemons and zest them until you have 1/4 cup lemon zest. Then squeeze the heck, I mean, juice outta them until you have 1/2 cup lemon juice. Set both aside.
Place 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar in a bowl. Add zest. Rub zest into sugar until it is fully combined. (and darn pretty). Set aside.
Take out your double-boiler and get 2 inches of water simmering on the stove. With the top part of the boiler away from the stove, pour in 4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs and whisk them together. I used fresh from the chickens for this recipe. Look how deeply golden those yolks are! Happy chickens make happy eggs! Once whisked, add the sugar combo to it and whisk in. Finally, add the lemon juice and whisk until combined.
Cut up cold unsalted butter…all 6 tablespoons of it…and add to the mix.
Place the pan on top of the simmering water. Use a silicone spatula and stir continuously while the lemon curd cooks.
This should only take 6-10 minutes. You want it to reach 170-175 degrees. By this time, the curd should stick to the spatula and create a nice coating. Take off the heat and stir occasionally while it cools and sets up a bit. About 5 more minutes.
Get a fine mesh strainer and get to work. You want to strain the curd of all of its zest and any eggy parts that may have cooked up during its time in the boiler room. Once strained….gobble it up! Put it on cake or ice cream or bread or my very favorite: a spoon.
If you want to can it, prepare 2 half-pint jars by sterilizing in a boiling water bath. I read that it was recommended that I put a rack in the bottom of my stock pot for better circulation around the jars, preventing cracking. I do not have a round rack for the bottom of my pan, so I put a bunch of jar rings on the bottom and it worked just dandy! I let my jars boil away while I prepared and made the curd. When the curd was ready to be canned, I pulled out the jars and lids and let them air dry. This happened quickly, since they were so toasty warm. I poured the curd into the jars, wiped the rims clean, placed the lids and tightened the rings. (but not crazy tight! Just fingertip tight.)
Back in the stock pot they went and I turned up the heat. As soon as it started to boil, I put on the timer for 15 minutes. When the time was up, I pulled the jars from the pot and set them on a towel in a cool place for them to hang out for 12-24 hours. The lids all pinged! as they went concave and got their vacuum seal on. After 24 hours, I tested them by unscrewing the rings and holding the jars up by the lids, just an inch off the counter. They all held, so I knew I was all sealed up.
And that was it! You can’t even imagine how gratifying it is to see all those jars lined up, knowing you used super fine ingredients and that you did it yourself. I think I’ll celebrate with a spoonful of lemon curd.
- 1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- Pour sugar into small bowl with lemon zest. Work zest into sugar until fragrant and fully combined.
- Take double-boiler and get 2 inches of water simmering on the stove.
- With the top part of the boiler away from the stove, pour in 4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs and whisk them together.
- Once whisked, add the sugar combo to it and whisk in.
- Add the lemon juice and whisk until combined.
- Cut up cold unsalted butter and add to mixture.
- Place on top of the double boiler’s simmering water. Stir continuously until curd reaches 170-175 degrees and the curd sticks to the back of a silicone spatula.
- Remove curd from stove and let it sit and firm up for 5 minutes on the counter top. Stir occasionally.
- Eat it up!