Meyer Lemon Curd, simple or spiced: Edible holiday gift gold

December 6, 2013

Meyer Lemon Curd on One Hungry Mama

Peppermint, cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread: the flavors of this season (as proven by entering any Starbucks across the nation). For me, though, this time of year also means citrus. The convergence of the holiday season and citrus season is a boon for those of us who love giving edible gifts. And I’m not talking about big gift crates of oranges.

Meyer lemons, one of my favorite citrus fruits of all time, are about to hit a peak. Slightly sweeter and less acidic than standard lemons (thanks to the influence of mandarin genes), Meyer lemons are perfect for using in sweet treats.

Lemon curd is one of my favorite things to make with them around this time of year since it goes so perfectly sandwiched between holiday cookies. And—holiday bonus!—curd can be canned in very small batches in just a few easy steps. Can you say best edible gift ever?

Curd is a 1-pot treat that comes together in just about 20 minutes, from prep to finish. Lemon curd, and especially Meyer lemon curd, is delicious plain: by the spoonful, in yogurt, on pancakes or toast, rolled into crepes. It can also be easily spiced up.

To infuse your Meyer lemon curd with mad flava, start with my basic recipe below and add flavoring agents to the pot while the curd cooks. The cooking time is plenty to infuse a tasty hint of flavor. My favorite pairings are:

  • Thyme Lemon Curd: Add 5-7 sprigs of thyme to your pot while the curd cooks.
  • Holiday Spice Lemon Curd: Add 1 cinnamon stick and 3 whole cloves to your pot while the curd cooks.
  • Basil Lemon Curd: Add 5-7 large basil leaves to your pot while the curd cooks.
  • Gingered Lemon Curd: Add 1-2 teaspoons of finely grated ginger to your pot while the curd cooks.
  • Orange-Lemon Curd: Add zest of 1 small orange (or 1/2 a large one) to your pot along with the lemon zest.

Once made, curd can be canned pretty easily. That is, if you can keep yourself from eating it all. Um, in one sitting. (Who me? I’ve never done that!) It’s important to keep in mind, though, that lemon curd doesn’t have as long a shelf life as jam, even once canned. You’ll only want to keep this for up to two months. Which, again, shouldn’t be a problem considering how delicious this is.

1. Sterilize half and/or quarter pint canning jars. I do this by running jars through a short cycle in my dishwasher without soap.

2. Fill warm, sterilized jars with lemon curd to 1/2? from the top.

3. Use a clean paper towel to wipe around the mouth of the jar to ensure an airtight closure. Seal the jar.

4. Fill a large stock pot with water and allow water to boil for 5 minutes. Submerge jars, making sure that there is at least 1? of water above each one. (You may have to do this in batches.) “Process” the jars (i.e., leave them in the boiling water) for 20 minutes, beginning the count once the water returns to a boil.

5. Remove jars from water (be careful; canning tongs are worth the minor investment) and check to make sure that the seals are tight. A tight seal—as indicated by a lid that will not pop when you press down in the middle—is essential to the food safety of your gift! If you’re feeling unsure or worried, check out this awesome post on how to check if your seal is good by the small batch canning queen, Marisa McClellan.

6. Allow jars to cool on the counter overnight.

7. Give.

Basic Meyer Lemon Curd
(Can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
Makes 1 cup

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Zest of two lemons
2 large eggs

1. Add sugar, lemon juice, butter, and zest to a medium saucepan set over low heat. Whisk as butter melts and sugar dissolves, mixing ingredients well.

2. Make sure that the mixture in the pot is warm, not hot, and that the stove heat is low, then add eggs, whisking constantly. Cook for about 10 minutes, continuing to whisk constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to boil!

3. Take the curd off of the heat and strain through a fine meshed sieve into a glass container. Refrigerate until cool; this will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. If you want it to last longer on your shelf, follow the steps above to can in jars.

*Note: While there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend sharing it with kids 12+ months due to the relatively high sugar content. No matter how old, if you choose to share this with young eaters, be sure to serve an age-appropriate portion. A little of this sweet treat goes a long way for wee ones.

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