The sun is finally out! The daffodils are blooming….
And right when I should be out in the garden, pulling up bolting winter greens and replanting with spring crops, a friend with a backyard full of citrus trees dropped off these lovely presents….
So, sometimes I have issues with how much sugar is in jam, and I feel bad that I’m basically making candy. Sometimes I think I should be making raw vegan soups or something.
Butter, and eggs. Lots of eggs.
Bright orange, creamy yolked, laid-this-morning, free range spring eggs…
This is hands down, the most delicious thing in a jar that I have ever made. I want to put on sweatpants and lie on the couch and watch tv and eat the whole thing right out of the jar all by myself. Seriously.
GRAPEFRUIT SCENTED LEMON CURD
makes: 4 1/2 pint jars
cook time: about 45 minutes
People get all crazy about canning lemon curd, the butter and the eggs being the main safety concern. Recipes run the gamut- some claim that it’s never safe to can at all, that you have to freeze the curd or use it immediately. Other recipes say that lemon curd is safe to can if you use bottled lemon juice, for the reliable acid content. Here’s my two cents (follow at your own risk):
- I found a recipe for lemon curd that was developed by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. It uses the boiling water processing method and was deemed safe for canning. “National Center for Home Food Preservation” sounds really official so I’m going to trust them.
- I used fresh lemon juice instead of bottled lemon juice. Careful though: Meyer lemons are not acidic enough, so don’t use them.
- The National Food Preservation people are saying that canned lemon curd has a shelf-life of 3-4 months, much shorter than the multiple year shelf life of jam or jelly.
After all that background information, let’s get to the recipe. The ingredients are only slightly adapted from the official recipe that I mentioned earlier, but the cooking technique is much different. Most recipes call for a double boiler (to avoid curdling the eggs and ending up with chunks of cooked egg whites) but I think that makes everything overly complicated. I’ve made it twice now without a double boiler, and no curdled eggs.
- 2 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 c. unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 c. grapefruit zest
- 1/4 c. orange zest
- 4 whole eggs, beaten thoroughly (they should be airy and light, with no little bits of white floating around any more)
- 7 egg yolks
Bring boiling water canner to a boil. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Put lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water from the canner.
Zest your fruit.
Combine zest and sugar in a bowl, mix well, and set aside for 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. At this point, you will be surprised at how amazing everything is smelling. Your kitchen will be an explosion of grapefruity brightness.
Juice your lemons while the sugar is doing its thing…
Prep your eggs: thoroughly beat 4 whole eggs until they are light and airy, with little bubbles from the intense whisking you’ve done. Make absolutely sure there are no little bits of white floating around still.
Separate out seven egg yolks, and whisk them into the beaten egg mixture. (Set aside the egg whites for something else, like angel food cake).
Now combine all the ingredients in a medium-large non-reactive pot.
Now turn the burner on as LOW as it will go, and whisk like crazy! We’re trying to incorporate the ingredients together slowly and consistently, avoiding high heat that could cook curdle the eggs. It’s hard work, but think of the sexy, rippling arm muscles you’ll have! And the smooth, luscious curd.
Once the butter has melted, turn the heat to medium and keep whisking. Do not stop whisking. Civilization could collapse while you’re making this, but if you want a smooth curd, you must not get distracted and stop whisking. It will seem like nothing is happening and you will curse yourself for deciding to make this recipe because your arms are getting tired. But then…. the mixture will start to thicken, and start to seem more like the consistency of pudding. After another minute or two, the mixture will be thick enough that when you pull the whisk across the bottom of the pan, you will see the metal for a few moments because the curd is starting to hold its shape.
Remove the pot from the heat. If you want, you can run the curd through a metal strainer at this point to remove the zest. Some people find the texture off-putting. I don’t, so I left it in. Ladle hot curd into hot jars leaving 1/2″ headspace. Wipe jar rims clean and attach lids. I processed the half pint jars for 30 minutes, which is a little more than the National Center for Home Food Preservation recommended, but I figured “round up, just to be sure.”
This curd is amazing with almost anything. Mix some into yogurt. Fold it into whipped cream and top with berries. Spoon some over angel food cake or pound cake. The possibilities are endless!