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Lemon Curd (directions, recipe, with photos and free)

How to Make Homemade/ Home-canned Lemon Curd  or Lime CurdLemons for lemon curd

Making and canning (or freezing) your own Lemon Curd or Lime Curd is easy.  Here's how to make your own home canned citrus juice, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. The Lemon Curdc will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store, and by selecting the right lemons, it will be so naturally-sweet that you won't need to add any sugar at all.

Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years, and require no special attention.

Prepared lemon curd can also be frozen instead of canned for up to 1 year without quality changes when thawed. Package in freezer containers after straining and cooling to room temperature. To thaw, place container in a refrigerator at 40°F or lower for 24 hours before intended use. After thawing, consume within 4 weeks. (See Freezer Lemon Curd, http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/nchfp/factsheets/freezer_lemoncurd.pdf)

 

Directions for Making Lemon Curd or Lime Curd

Yield: About 3 to 4 half-pint jars

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups superfine sugar (it can be hard to find in the stores, and is not the same as powdered sugar, so here's how to make your own:  just put regular granulated sugar through a grinder or food processor for 1 minute, let settle, and use in place of superfine sugar. Do not use powdered sugar.)
  • 1/2 cup lemon zest (freshly zested), optional
  • 1 cup lemon juice (The food scientists say bottled lemon or Lime juice considered to be safer than fresh due to a more consistent pH, but obviously that defeats the purpose f you have access to fresh lemons or Limes. The point is the opposite: if you cannot get fresh lemons, bottled lemon juice is fine!)
  • 3/4  cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into approximately 3/4" pieces
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 4 large whole eggs

Equipment

  •  lemon zester,
  • balloon whisk,
  • 1 and 1/2 quart double boiler (the top double boiler pan should be at least 1.5 quart volume), If you do not have a double boiler, just use a large bowl or saucepan that can fit partway down into a saucepan of a smaller diameter. OR If the bottom pan has a larger diameter, the top bowl or pan should have a handle(s) that can rest on the rim of the lower pan.
  • strainer,
  • kitchen thermometer measuring at least up to 180°F,
  • glass or stainless steel medium mixing bowl,
  • silicone spatula or cooking spoon,
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)t)
  • Jar funnel ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)t)
  • At least 1 large pot (at least 8-quart size or larger)
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • Ball jars (Publix, Kroger, other grocery stores and some "big box" stores carry them - about $8 per dozen quart jars including the lids and rings)
  • Sieve:
    • a simple metal or plastic sieve. 
    • colander
  • Filters - if you want filtered juice
    • jelly bag
    • cheesecloth
    • coffee filters
  • 1 Water Bath Canner (a huge pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars of lemon juice after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates) You CAN use a large pot instead, but the canners are deeper, and have a rack top make lifting the jars out easier. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.

Recipe and Directions

 

 

Step 1 - Selecting the lemons

The most important step!   You should choose the best lemons you can get and make far better Lemon Curd.  Don't get me wrong, it is fine to use small lemons and less attractive varieties, as long as they are firm and unspoiled! As noted in teh ingredients section, you can use bottled or even frozen juice instead.

Step 2 - How many lemons and where to get them

You can pick your own, or buy them at the grocery store.  But for large quantities, you'll find that real* farmer's markets, like the Farmer's Market in Forest Park, Georgia have them at the best prices.  In 2004, they were available from late September at $11 to $16 per bushel. 2005 prices have been in the $14 to $20 range at the real farmer's markets, like the Atlanta-Forest park Georgia State Farmer's Market and orchards in the southeast of the U.S.

You'll get about 12 to 20 quarts of lemon juice per bushel of lemons.  Count on 15 or 16  quarts per bushel.

* - not the cutesy, fake farmer's markets that are just warehouse grocery stores that call themselves farmer's markets.

Canning jars in the dishwasherStep 3 - Wash the jars and lids

Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used. Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot Lemon Curd.

Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.

Step 4 -Wash and peel the lemons or Limes!

I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in plain cold water. If you have a juicer or squeezer, it obviously makes it much easier.  If you don't have a juicer, don't fret, just peel the fruit (as shown in the photo), then chop or crush the fruit with a potato masher and continue to the next step.

Step 5 - Briefly, quickly cook the lemons / Limes

Pretty simple put about 2 inches of water (I used filtered tap water) on the bottom of a huge, thick-bottomed pot. Put the lid on, and the heat on high.  When it gets really going, turn it off - you only want to release the juice from the pulp.. Obviously, if you used a juicer, you can skip this step and step 6.

Hardware stores sell a fruit steamer.  I haven't used one yet, but I hear they work well.

Step 6 - Sieve the cooked lemons

Now you want to separate the liquid from the pulp, skins, seeds, stems, etc.  There are quite a variety of ways to filter the lemons. 

Unfiltered juice:

  • I like a natural lemon curd, with the natural cloudiness of the fruit particles in it, so I just plop the cooked lemons into a large metal or plastic sieve or colander.
  • You can also refrigerate the juice for 24 to 48 hours and then decant it (without mixing, carefully pour off clear liquid and discard sediment).

Filtered juice:

  • A better way if you want filtered lemon juice is just to line your sieve or colander with  several layers of cheese cloth and let the juice drip through.  It could take an hour..
  • If you want really clear Lemon Curd (but most people prefer "natural" style with some solids) you can strain the juice through a paper coffee filter place inside a sieve or colander.
  • If you want more filtered Lemon Curd, use a jelly bag. Just pour hot prepared fruit pulp into a jelly bag and let it drip.  . Do not squeeze the bag.! In my experience this method takes forever.

Note: One of the easiest ways to extract juice is by using a steam juicer available at many hardware and variety stores. If you plan on making a lot of juice or doing this every year, it may be worth buying one. This unique piece of equipment allows you to conveniently extract juice by steaming the fruit which is held in a retaining basket. The juice drops into a reservoir which has a tube outlet for removal. Follow manufacturer's instructions for using steam juicer.

Step 7 - Prepare the other ingredients

 Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl, stir to mix, and set aside about 30 minutes. Pre-measure the lemon juice and prepare the chilled butter pieces.

Step 8 - Get the double boiler read

Heat water in the bottom pan of the double boiler until it boils gently. The water should not boil vigorously or touch the bottom of the top double boiler pan or bowl in which the curd is to be cooked. Steam produced will be sufficient for the cooking process to occur.

Step 9 - Whisk Eggs and then combine

In the top of the double boiler, on the counter top or table, whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs together until thoroughly mixed. Slowly whisk in the sugar and zest, blending until well mixed and smooth. Blend in the lemon juice and then add the butter pieces to the mixture.

Step 10 - Carefully heat over the double boiler to 170 F

 Place the top of the double boiler over boiling water in the bottom pan. Stir gently but continuously with a silicone spatula or cooking spoon, to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F. Use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Step 11 - Remove from heat and stir until thickened

 Remove the double boiler pan from the stove and place on a protected surface, such as a dish cloth or towel on the counter top. Continue to stir gently until the curd thickens (about 5 minutes). Strain curd through a mesh strainer into a glass or stainless steel bowl; discard collected zest.

Step 12 - Fill the jars and process them in the water bath

Fill boiling water canner with enough water to cover the filled jars by 1 to 2 inches. Use a thermometer to preheat the water to 180°F by the time filled jars are ready to be added. This is different from other canning recipes because you are not to heat the water in the canner to more than 180°F before jars are added. If the water in the canner is too hot when jars are added, the process time will not be long enough. The time it takes for the canner to reach boiling after the jars are added is expected to be 25 to 30 minutes for this product. Process time starts after the water in the canner comes to a full boil over the tops of the jars.

Fill them to within 1/2-inch of the top, wipe any spilled Lemon Curd of the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.  Put them in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 or 2 inches of water and boiling. if you are at sea level (up to 1,000 ft) boil pint  or quart jars for 5 minutes and half gallon jars for 10 min. This assumes you kept the juice hit until you filled the jars. If you are at an altitude of 1,000 feet or more, see the chart below

Recommended process time for Canned Lemon Curd in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Half-pints 15 min 20 25

 

Step 13 - Remove and cool the jars - Done

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight)  You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.


Storage

Shelf Life: For best quality, store in a cool, dark place (away from light). Plan to use canned lemon curd within 3 to 4 months. Browning and/or separation may occur with longer storage; discard any time these changes are observed.

 

 

 

 

 


Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter - to remove lids from the pot of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid - disposable - you may only use them once
  4. Ring - holds the lids on the jar until after the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel - to fill the jars
Canning tools

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* Complete with 21 1/2 qt. enameled waterbath canner and "Ball Blue Book" of canning.
* Also includes canning rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrencher, bubble freer, tongs and lid lifter.
* A Kitchen Krafts exclusive collection.


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  • Ball Blue Book

This is the same type of  standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from lemon juice to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. You'll never need anything else except more jars and lids!

Victorio V250 Food Strainer (the same as the comparable Villaware and Roma models)

With this Food and Vegetable Strainer, you'll be able to prepare more healthy foods, make natural sauces, soups and jams - even your own baby food! The tedious job of peeling and coring is eliminated as the strainer continuously separates the seeds and skins from the juices and pulp with just a turn of the handle. The highly polished body contains no paint or coatings that can chip or peel off, is easy to clean, and stands 19-in. high with the attached hopper. Click at left for more information, images accessories or to order.

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  • Replaces peeling and coring
  • Assembly required
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Deluxe Food Strainer & Sauce Maker

See this page for more information, reviews, descriptions of other strainers and supplies or to order!

With the Deluxe Food Strainer/Sauce Maker, you can make creamy apple sauce and smooth tomato sauce without having to peel and core! This multi-use strainer forces food through a stainless steel screen, automatically separating the juice and pulp from the seeds, shins, and stems. Perfect for purees, creamed soups, baby foods, pie filling, juices, jams, and more. Save time, effort, and money by preparing your own tasty sauces to be used immediately or boiled for future use. Do bushels with ease and in a fraction of the time. Includes the tomato/apple screen with easy twist on design and instruction/recipe booklet.

The Deluxe model comes with the standard Tomato/Lemon Screen; as well as the Berry Screen, Pumpkin Screen, and Grape Spiral. Note

 

 

     

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

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