Meyer Lemon Curd

meyer lemons

The first time I tasted lemon curd, I fell powerfully and intensely in love with its tart creaminess. I was 11 years old and my family had received a jar of homemade lemon curd from my cousins in Walnut Creek, CA. They kept chickens in their backyard, had lemon trees out front and so made jars of curd using these homegrown ingredients to send to friends and family for the holidays.

egg yolk star

For a few days, I kept up the charade of sharing this sunshiny jar with my parents and sister, dutifully dolloping scant spoonfuls onto toast. However, on the third day, I couldn’t continue to resist. I removed the half-full jar from the fridge, snuck to my room and ate the rest of that amazing curd with a spoon. I am not to be trusted when it comes to lemon curd.

zesting

Speaking of meyer lemons. One of the magical things about Southern California is that they just grow on trees there. I was born in Los Angeles and for my first nine years lived amidst that magical bounty. Our Hawaiian mailman taught me to eat the tender bossoms from the the guava tree along our front walkway and my grandma Bunny had a tree that produced heaps of sweet/tart meyer lemons each year (my mom used to squeeze them and freeze the juice into ice cubes). Having lived in colder climates for the last 21 years, I am startled when I am reminded that there are places where people can just walk outside and pick citrus (and that I was once one of them).

lemon halves

For those of you who have yet to taste a meyer lemon, they’re thinner skinned and sweeter than your typical lemon. They are also intensely fragrant, and give this curd a lovely, delicate taste/aroma.

butter (unsalted is best)

Making curd is time consuming, but once your ingredients are all assembled, it goes quickly. This basic recipe makes just a single pint, but happily you can easily double or triple it without any ill effects. Separate six eggs, tucking the whites into a jar for later use (I’m thinking of making a batch of meringue cookies tomorrow). Zest three juicy meyer lemons (make sure to pick ones that seem heavy for their size). Juice the lemons (always buy one extra, in case you don’t get quite enough juice).

adding butter

Measure out 1 cup of sugar and set a heavy bottomed pot over low heat. Whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar. Pour in the lemon juice and switch to a wooden spoon for stirring (using a whisk past the initial step will aerate your curd and your final product won’t be silken). Don’t worry if you get a few bits of cooked eggs spread throughout your curd, a quick trip through a fine mesh sieve at the end will take care of them.

two half-pints of lemon curd

When the sugar, egg yolk and lemon juice have thickened (it takes 10-15 minutes of cooking over very low heat and near-constant stirring to get to this point), stir in the butter until it’s melted. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the curd through a mesh sieve that you’ve perched over a glass or stainless steel bowl. Gently work the curd through the sieve with a wooden spoon, taking care not to pulverize any of those cooked egg bits to the point where they’re small enough to get through the mesh. Whisk in the lemon zest and pour the lemon curd into your prepared jars.

curd from above

You can process lemon curd to make it shelf stable, but it doesn’t have the shelf life of other jams and preserves. You won’t want to keep it more than two months (but with something this good, I truly doubt you’ll have it hanging around that long). Process half and quarter pints in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes (starting the timer when the water returns to a boil so that they get the full effect of 20 minutes of boiling water processing).

For those of you who like recipes in a traditional format, sans narrative, it is after the jump.

Meyer Lemon Curd

Yield: 2 half pints

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 meyer lemons, juiced (you should get a generous 1/2 cup. Make sure to strain it, to ensure you get all the seeds)
  • zest from the juiced lemons
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into chunks

Instructions

  1. In a small, heavy bottom pot over medium heat, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
  2. Add the lemon juice and zest and switch to stirring with a wooden spoon, so as not to aerate the curd.
  3. Stir continually for 10-15 minutes, adjusting the heat as you go to ensure that it does not boil.
  4. Your curd is done when it has thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
  5. When you determine that it's finished, drop in the butter and stir until melted.
  6. Position a fine mesh sieve over a glass or stainless steel bowl and pour the curd through it, to remove any bits of cooked egg. Whisk in the zest.
  7. Pour the curd into two prepared half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. If you want to process them for shelf stability, process them in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes (start the time when the water returns to a boil).
  8. According to So Easy to Preserve, it is best to process only in half-pint jars or smaller, as they allow better heat infiltration.
  9. Eat on toast, stirred into plain yogurt or straight from the jar with a spoon.

Notes

Update: While there are still instructions in "So Easy to Preserve" about canning citrus curds, current conventional wisdom has us moving away from water bath canning anything with dairy in it. What's more, I find that the texture of this curd is better when it is preserved by freezing rather than canning.

Adapted from "The Martha Stewart Cookbook"

http://foodinjars.com/2010/01/meyer-lemon-curd/

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149 Responses to Meyer Lemon Curd

  1. 101

    […] they would not last.  So I checked my favorite canning blog, Food in Jars, to grab this recipe for Lemon Curd.  The kids squeezed the lemons right after dinner, and I just finished the jar 5 minutes ago.  […]

  2. 102
    Teresa says:

    I’ve made this twice in the last couple of weeks. It’s my new favorite way to use Meyers.

  3. 103
    Grace C. says:

    I purchased a great, big container of Meyer lemons recently at our local food warehouse. I had never used them before so, of course, I went crazy! Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie, Meyer Pound Cake, and yes, Meyer Lemon Curd! Loved this recipe! Can’t wait to devour it. Still have 6 more lemons left. Meyer Lemon Shortbread Cookies perhaps? Maybe Meyer Lemon Preserves!!!

  4. 104

    […] Preserves – lemon curd, lacto-fermented kumquat marmalade, grapefruit jam, the possibilities are […]

  5. 105
    Erin says:

    I whipped up a batch of your meyer lemon curd recently and it was amazing. I will say I forgot to add the butter and it was still rich, creamy and smooth. My neighbor who is a lemon fanatic devoured my last jar so I will be making another batch soon. Thank you for giving me a great use for my year round producing tree!

  6. 106

    […] lemons with an especially shiny smooth rind, because they make an exceptional lemon curd. (For the lemon curd recipe, go to my friend Marisa’s blog, Food in Jars.) So, although it was not exactly practical, I […]

  7. 107

    […] haben dafür mehrere Rezepte ergooglet und zwei verschiedene ausprobiert. Besser funktioniert dieses hier von Food in Jars, das wir hier gleich übersetzt und mit metrischen Maßen wiedergeben: In einer Schüssel, die auf […]

  8. 108
    Peggy says:

    Oh-my-word! I just made this! I was licking the bowl it was so yummy!

  9. 109

    […] is really a simple recipe — which I have adapted from my friend Marisa McClellan’s recipe for Meyer lemon curd — that takes less than a half hour. Just give the curd your undivided attention for those […]

  10. 110

    […] made caramel before and while it took a long time, it was surprisingly easy. And we made delicious lemon curd! We had it on pancakes, biscuits, and just on spoons straight from the jar! It was amazing. Like a […]

  11. 111

    […] it away), it can be frozen in the 1/2 pint jars. If you want to can, you should try this recipe or this one, as I can’t recommend canning a recipe that’s not specifically designed for […]

  12. 112

    […] wanted to keep a jar or two for later, so looked for a recipe suitable for canning which I found at Food in Jars (note that these still should be used within a couple months–not that this is hard).  […]

  13. 113
    Laurie says:

    I’ve been a lemon fanatic for years and have been wanting to try this for months. I just made a batch and can I just say… well… I’m speechless. It. Is. Beyond. Delicious!!

  14. 114

    Hey Marissa- I just made and posted about this! It’s so good, but I’ve been getting a lot of negative feedback about canning dairy and about the issue of not trusting fresh squeezed emon juice due to the uncertain ph/acidity. Thoughts?

  15. 115

    […] Meyer Lemon Curd from Food in Jars […]

  16. 116
    robin says:

    Anyone know how much this recipe will yield? Like 2 cups, maybe?

    • 116.1
      Marisa says:

      It makes 2 half pints, which is also two cups. The yield was buried in the recipe instructions. I’ve since updated it.

  17. 117

    […] MEYER LEMON CURD makes 4 1/4-pint jars recipe from Food in Jars […]

  18. 118
    Tina says:

    question.. in the instructions it says to add the juice and zest… but then a little later it says to wisk in the zest… am i to reserve some of the zest and add it later?

  19. 119

    […] but strawberries do not have the acidity to compensate.  Never mind though, Marisa of Food in Jars says she believes that curd texture is better if frozen than canned […]

  20. 120
    Cora Regina says:

    I don’t have a pot with a thick bottom, unfortunately, all of my cookware is just old stuff from my family. Can I use a bain-marie for the curd instead, or would that heat it too slowly?

  21. 121
    Chef Woods says:

    I was checking out websites for canning lemon Curd, as I, like you, would be happy sucking it through a straw! Yum! I have instructed my students on how to make this delicious sauce and we have sold the extras to eager faculty and staff at our school. I was interested in offering the sauce for sale at our annual church bazaar, thus the search for canning instructions. I decided that we will most likely prepare the sauce in 1/2 pint canning jars and just keep them chilled for the sale. I doubt the customers will be saving it for long once they have tasted the samples we will offer. My recipe is slightly different, but still yields an awesome sauce!

  22. 122
    Jennifer says:

    Just made this for the first time…quite possibly the best thing I have ever had. Ever!

  23. 123

    […] You’ll also find the recipe online at Marisa’s blog Food in Jars: Meyer Lemon Curd […]

  24. 124

    […] weeks ago. I followed a recipe from my new canning cookbook from Food in Jars (similar recipe here). The bright, rich yellow color comes from using farmers’ market eggs for the recipe. The […]

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Yellow. | Tiny Pinecone - March 4, 2013

    […] they would not last.  So I checked my favorite canning blog, Food in Jars, to grab this recipe for Lemon Curd.  The kids squeezed the lemons right after dinner, and I just finished the jar 5 minutes ago.  […]

  2. Fabulous Friday Five – winter canning | heartland Renaissance - April 12, 2013

    […] Preserves – lemon curd, lacto-fermented kumquat marmalade, grapefruit jam, the possibilities are […]

  3. Low-Fat Holiday Treat: Chocolate Mint Meringues - West of the Loop - December 5, 2013

    […] lemons with an especially shiny smooth rind, because they make an exceptional lemon curd. (For the lemon curd recipe, go to my friend Marisa’s blog, Food in Jars.) So, although it was not exactly practical, I […]

  4. Alles Meyer, oder was? - Doppelt schmeckt besser - January 7, 2014

    […] haben dafür mehrere Rezepte ergooglet und zwei verschiedene ausprobiert. Besser funktioniert dieses hier von Food in Jars, das wir hier gleich übersetzt und mit metrischen Maßen wiedergeben: In einer Schüssel, die auf […]

  5. Key Lime Curd for Teatime, Dessert and Beyond - West of the Loop - January 18, 2014

    […] is really a simple recipe — which I have adapted from my friend Marisa McClellan’s recipe for Meyer lemon curd — that takes less than a half hour. Just give the curd your undivided attention for those […]

  6. When life gives you lemons… | JM Funny Farm - February 20, 2014

    […] made caramel before and while it took a long time, it was surprisingly easy. And we made delicious lemon curd! We had it on pancakes, biscuits, and just on spoons straight from the jar! It was amazing. Like a […]

  7. Making Meyer Lemon Curd – Free Range - March 1, 2014

    […] it away), it can be frozen in the 1/2 pint jars. If you want to can, you should try this recipe or this one, as I can’t recommend canning a recipe that’s not specifically designed for […]

  8. Homemade Meyer Lemon Curd (with Printable Labels) | Art of Natural Living - March 7, 2014

    […] wanted to keep a jar or two for later, so looked for a recipe suitable for canning which I found at Food in Jars (note that these still should be used within a couple months–not that this is hard).  […]

  9. For the Love of Meyer Lemons - March 26, 2014

    […] Meyer Lemon Curd from Food in Jars […]

  10. gastronomy: une tranche de vie ~ when life gives you {meyer} lemons | gastronomy & wanderlust - April 15, 2014

    […] MEYER LEMON CURD makes 4 1/4-pint jars recipe from Food in Jars […]

  11. Summer Strawberry Curd | Art of Natural Living - June 24, 2014

    […] but strawberries do not have the acidity to compensate.  Never mind though, Marisa of Food in Jars says she believes that curd texture is better if frozen than canned […]

  12. Individual Pavlovas - Get the Good Stuff! - May 20, 2015

    […] You’ll also find the recipe online at Marisa’s blog Food in Jars: Meyer Lemon Curd […]

  13. Sunflower-Oat Thumbprint Cookies with Meyer Lemon Curd | Uproot Kitchen - March 14, 2016

    […] weeks ago. I followed a recipe from my new canning cookbook from Food in Jars (similar recipe here). The bright, rich yellow color comes from using farmers’ market eggs for the recipe. The […]

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