Mar 14 2011

Adventures in Canning: Lemon Curd

As previously mentioned, I've spent a few chilly Winter days researching the intricacies of canning and preserving, with the goal of capitalizing on the glut of strawberries, tomatoes, and more that will soon overtake the farmers' markets.  I want to capture these fruits and vegetables at the peak of their flavor and freshness.

lemonssqueezed lemons

But before these fruits and veggies start appearing faster than I can keep up, I'm getting a head start by practicing some basic techniques with the fruits readily available now (namely lemons and apples).

cut lemon

I knew immediately that I wanted to make lemon curd first.  I don't frequently seek out such strong lemony flavors (except lemonade in the summer), but I've been enamored with lemon curd since first tasting Iris Cafe's version.  When we lived in Brooklyn Heights, I had one worthwhile coffee and snack option: Iris. (No, Tazza doesn't count!)  Iris is housed in a rustic space on the prettiest tree-lined street in Brooklyn Heights.  This was why I trekked to Iris 3x a week.  Besides Stumptown coffee drinks, Iris makes simple and delicious breakfasts, sandwiches, and snacks.  My favorite snack of theirs, by far, is their biscuit and lemon curd.

Lemon curd seems to be off-putting to some people.  Maybe it's the name?  Is it hard to get excited about something with the word curd in it?!  Lemon curd tastes both sweet and tart, with a thick texture.  This strong taste is easily balanced when paired with a plain biscuit (or vanilla ice-cream or a plain pancake).

I made my lemon curd with Meyer lemons (basically a cross between a lemon and an orange).  Using a recipe from Put em Up!, I put all of the ingredients into a double broiler at the same time.  And then I whisked…and whisked.  The recipe said that I'd need to whisk for 10 minutes.  Try 25!  Other lemon curd recipes structure the recipe a bit differently (namely, melting the butter into the mixture after dissolving the sugar).  Though I was happy with the end result (but not with my sore right arm!), next time I would experiment with a different recipe to compare the results.


Pair your lemon curd with a biscuit for the perfect afternoon snack.  I refrigerated mine instead of canning because I knew I'd want the curd for immediate consumption.  Lemon curd stays good for up to two weeks in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Lemon Curd

lemon curd

Recipe adapted from Put 'em Up!

Makes 3 cups


1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 cup lemon juice (from about 5 lemons)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 sticks of butter, cut into pieces

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon of salt


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in the top of a double boiler.
  2. Bring the water in the bottom pan to a low boil and whisk the mixture constantly until it thickens. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 25 minutes.
  3. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
  4. Ladle into jars and let cool. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.