Meyer Lemon Curd

meyer lemons

When I was 11 years old, my cousins in Walnut Creek, California sent us a jar of homemade lemon curd. 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. It was love at first taste.

egg yolk star

For a couple days, I kept up the charade of sharing this sunshiny jar with my parents and sister, dolloping scant spoonfuls onto toast like everyone else. 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 balance of the jar a spoon while reading a book. 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 blossoms 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, add the bits of zest 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 your curd looks texturally weird during cooking, a quick trip through a fine mesh sieve at the end ensures that the finished curd is perfectly silky.

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, removing the bits of curd and any curdled bits of scrambled egg.

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 and 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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158 Responses to Meyer Lemon Curd

  1. 51
    Matt says:

    This sounds absolutely delicious. As a complete novice in the kitchen, is it safe to assume that the filling in a lemon meringue pie is lemon curd just like this? It sounds like I would only be two steps away from pie after making this…

  2. 52

    I made this today! It is so amazingly flavorful–worlds better than the store bought variety. I am planning to make a key-lime curd, a grapefruit curd, and a vanilla-orange curd. (Like your creamsicle jam!) I want to process it to be shelf-stable, because I want to mail some to my sister, but I am a little afraid to start. The boiling I think I can do, but the “prepared jars” bit is kind of intimidating.

    I am staring down half a bottle of shiraz that we had with dinner last night, and. Wondering if it could be made into curd. Hmm….

  3. 53

    Yeah… the shiraz curd might have been a mistake. (Fortunately I only made a half bathch.) While it has sort of an interestingly complex flavor, it is WAY too sweet. It is also a horrible horrible color. Can the amount of sugar in this recipe without ill effect?

    Of course, I am still considering doing a balsamic vinegar curd, and maybe a blackberry cabernet curd… Is a certain level of acidity necessary to get a proper set-up?

    • 53.1
      Marisa says:

      Rachel, the acidity level is really important for safety more so than set. It’s really not safe to can curds other than lemon and lime.

      • That is good to know! I am not really planning to properly can any of it–I want to, but I am lacking necessary equipment and still rather intimidated by the whole process.

        When you say, “it’s not really safe to can curds other than lemon and lime”, does that mean it is still okay to make other curds and store it in jars in the fridge? Additionally, if you use something with the same pH as lemon or lime juice, does that make it safe?

  4. 54

    […] After happening on some good looking Meyer Lemons at the co-op, I started with her recipe for Lemon Curd, and was beyond excited when I finished and heard the seals on the jars pop!  I opened the first […]

  5. 55
    CATT says:

    Okay so two things of concern. One lemon & limes is okay to boil can and keep on shelf…what about say graoefruit and orange? Second thing what do I do with all the left over egg whites? I hate to waste them?

    • 55.1
      Steve says:

      Three great things to do with egg whites; meringue cookies, coconut macaroons, or homemade marshmallows. The marshmallows are awesome because you can flavor them. I have done brandy or cinnamon ones to drop into hot chocolate.

  6. 56
    NoshThis says:

    Hello,

    Thanks for this great recipe. I have a question about shelf stability. I’m new at canning but am anxious to start. I am making this lemon curd today with my leftover lemons from limoncello.

    If it is properly canned, and I think I get why water-bath canning is appropriate here (high acid in the lemons) why does it only last a few months? If I pressure can it, would it last longer? Would that destroy the curd?

    Thanks in advance for your answer. I’ll be checking in to your informative blog often.

    Cheers,

    Kai

    • 56.1
      Marisa says:

      Kai, the reason it doesn’t last on the shelf more than a couple of months is that the texture begins to degrade. It will be safe for much longer, but it may start to separate. You wouldn’t want to pressure can it, as that would over cook the curd. You could freeze it if you’re looking for an alternate way to preserve it.

  7. 57
    Melody says:

    I live in NZ, and I wondering how much do you define a stick of butter to be (pounds or grams is fine)

  8. 58
    Jules says:

    I’m long on grapefruit and a newbie to canning. Is grapefruit on its own acidic enough for me to put up grapefruit curd?

  9. 59

    […] roughly based my curd on Marisa’s recipe, although I definitely made some changes:  no Meyer lemons, for example, and I used whole eggs […]

  10. 60
    Deborah Cates says:

    I just made this recipe (x5) with regular lemons off of the tree in my front yard. It is good, but not as tart as I’d like. I think next time I will use all of the zest from all of the lemons and maybe increase the quantity of lemon juice just a bit to make it more tart. The texture is lovely and I am sure it will taste divine with scones or muffins! My husband and I just planted a rangspur lime tree and I cannot WAIT until the fruit ripens in a few months so that I may make curd with that fruit!! Thank you for passing along this great recipe!!

  11. 61

    Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I’m inspired! Extremely useful information specifically the ultimate section 🙂 I deal with such information a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a very lengthy time. Thanks and best of luck.

  12. 62
    Martin Fedorowski says:

    Once I’ve made the curd and the process for shelf stability, do I have to refrigerate them? How many time I can keep the preserve???
    Thanks,

    • 62.1
      marisa says:

      Nope, no need to refrigerate. The whole point of the processing is to ensure that they’ll be safe to keep out of the fridge.

  13. 63
    Katelyn says:

    I have a recipe for lemon curd that I’ve been using for a few years that I really like. It uses a bit more sugar and lemon juice, as well as whole eggs. Any reason I wouldn’t be able to can it with whole eggs?

  14. 64

    […] Curd Recipe from Food in Jars […]

  15. 65

    […] For those of you who like recipes in a traditional format, sans narrative, it is after the jump. Meyer Lemon Curd 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). Meyer Lemon Curd | Food in Jars […]

  16. 66
    Faith says:

    AMAZING! This recipe is simply perfect! As I type, the jars are boiling in my canner (xmas gift, so thrilled I stumbled upon your blog). I can’t wait to give this gem away as gifts next week! THANK YOU!

  17. 67
    Mary Adams says:

    So glad I found your blog! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the info on canning lemon curd!

    For years I have wanted to be able to give it as gifts but couldn’t find out how to can it. I just needed it to be OK at room temp for a few days but a month or more is fantastic!

  18. 68
    Kathy Hinson says:

    We live in Houston and my hubby has Meyer lemon trees. I have a bowl of them sitting on my kitchen table and they are amazing! I’ve already made one lemon meringue pie (gluten free) and it was sooo good. Yesterday, my daughter and I picked up some clotted cream and decided to try our hand at some lemon curd to go with it and homemade scones. Thank you for this recipe!!

  19. 69

    […] I bought a LOT of Meyer lemons the other day.  At this time of year in NYC, Meyer lemons are sold in rather large bags….and then sometimes there is a two bags for the price of one and half bags.  So I bought a LOT of Meyer lemons.  I happen to be craving lemon, so it’s okay.  I made a Meyer Lemon Curd recipe that I found on  the blog Food In Jars (adapted from Martha Stewart). […]

  20. 70

    […] of time. Lemon curd can sit in your fridge for weeks with no ill effects, so I made that, using this recipe from my friend Marisa of the canning blog, Food in Jars. Then, during the week, I prepared my […]

  21. 71
    Rachael Allen says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for the fantastic lemon curd recipe 🙂 i live in New Zealand and was trying to find the perfect recipe and yours worked out great and tastes devine! I went to see my grandparents the other day and they have a big lemon tree so i grabbed quite a few and i didn’t know what i was going to do with them until i remembered i could make lemon curd 🙂 so thank you!! I will be keeping this recipe for a long time now.

  22. 72
    Emily says:

    I live overseas and made this recipe tonight with fresh bergamots from the market in Athens, Greece. I processed it in a hot water bath according to these instructions (nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/lemon_curd.pdf), since I would like to send a jar to a friend. The result is absolutely delicious!

  23. 73

    […] your basic pound cake, scone or bowl of yogurt into an indulgent treat. I follow the Food in Jars recipe for Meyer Lemon Curd and I have also adapted it to make Key Lime curd. Just replace the 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1/2 cup […]

  24. 74
    Margaret says:

    Hi ya!
    I’ve made this yumminess and posted about it on my brand new blog!
    Check it out.
    http://twointhenestmama.blogspot.com/2012/01/lemon-curd.html
    (I should’ve taken more pictures, but next time!!)
    Thanks a million
    Margaret

  25. 75

    […] the meantime I think I’m going to make some curd with the lemons from the second box and I’m hoping for a third box to make limoncello. […]

  26. 76
    Christi says:

    All set to make this today…this is probably a silly question but can you make multiple batches of this and then can as usual or will it ruin the texture?

    • 76.1
      marisa says:

      You can make multiple batches. Do know that they may take longer to thicken the more is in the pot. Also know that curds don’t hold as well as other preserves. If you think you want it to last longer than 4-6 months, it’s better to freeze it.

      • Christi says:

        Thanks so much! It turned out really well and I did notice it took about 20 minutes to thicken and when it did, it turned really quickly. Only sad news is that two of eight half pints didn’t seal. Not the end of the world…I’ll just have to start eating 🙂

  27. 77
    Amy says:

    Hi Marisa

    My sister and I were having the proverbial argument about the eggs in the lemon curd (looks like I won, hee hee…). But, like everyone else I am ultimately confused. If pressure cooking will overcook the lemon curd, and a water bath will preserve for 2 months without a loss in texture. The question remains, how long will it actually preserve for, regardless of texture? (As I’m now quite curious to test this out… after all, it’s Meyer lemon season…).

    What is happening in the commercial processes that allow them to can/preserve lemon curd for up to 2 years?? I have always enjoyed Dickinson’s Lemon Curd, and their ingredients are rather straight forward (SUGAR, WATER, EGGS, BUTTER [CREAM (FROM MILK), SALT], LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, PECTIN, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVOR, SODIUM CITRATE, LOCUST BEAN GUM, YELLOW 5).

    Pectin = Gelling Agent
    Citric Acid = Natural Preservative/Conservative
    Sodium Citrate = Sodium Salt of Citric Acid = Sour Salt = Additive/Preservative = Add to high acid liquids so gelling will occur.
    Locust Bean Gum = Thickener

    Is the addition of the above items what allows their lemon curd to be shelf stable for longer periods of time? I have seen what lemon curd looks like once it’s past it’s shelf date, it tends to be brown in color – which makes it unappetizing.

    Thanks for your help!

    • 77.1
      Megan says:

      My thought, for what it’s worth, is that the longer self-life may have to do with the commercial canning process. The processing plant has higher standards and more sophisticated equipment than our home kitchens do. I’m guessing they use much higher temperatures and achieve a more sterile environment. It may also have to do with the stabilizers and preservatives that you list above.

  28. 78
    Leila says:

    The Meyer lemons just showed up in the store. My very first batch of lemon curd is now cooling in jars on the counter top. Thank you so much for this bit of heaven.

  29. 79
    Michalle M says:

    I was born in England… where this tasty treat is a staple on any breakfast table..My Mother would make jars of Lemon Curd we called it Lemon Cheese… I would rush home from school to spread on fresh baked bread!…My Mother now in her mid 80’s as early dementia and it is hard to get her to remember recipes .. so this was a God send find your recipe here.. and it spot on how I remember it ! Thanks so much.. I am licking the spoon .. lol..

  30. 80
    Tamar says:

    I just made my first batch of lemon curd tonight and it turned out pretty well. I’ve never been a huge fan, but you were so excited about it and my aunt said she loved it, so I figured I can’t go wrong. Plus, I’ve only ever eaten store-bought and this has to be better, right?

  31. 81

    I had 6 meyer lemons about to expire so I just made a double batch of this (although I had to add a little bit of regular lemon juice to bring it to 1 cup) and it is SO GOOD. I just ate at least 1/2 a cup straight from the pot. Thanks for this awesome recipe!

  32. 82
    Charlie says:

    Marisa:
    Just made this and it is wonderful!
    I thought it might be too sweet, but it was a perfect balance of sweet and tart.
    This recipe is going into my to keep folder.

    My two year old grandson is a big fan and eating it off the spoon.

    Thank you for so graciously sharing.

    Charlie

  33. 83

    […] Then I was checking out Food in Jars, (since canning is one of my goals this year) and came across this recipe for Meyer lemon curd, which I cannot wait to try on some scones, or maybe even some buttermilk […]

  34. 84

    Yum! Meyer lemon curd is fabulous on toast, in a tart, or my husbands favorite on a Pavlova with blueberries. Spread a bit of the curd on top of the meringue and mix some in the whipped cream(unsweetened please). Add in fresh blueberries into the cream mixture and spread on the meringue. Eat. Love. Enjoy. And think about how good the simple things are in this world.

  35. 85

    […] _______________________________________________________________ Lime (or just about any citrus) Curd- aka Awesome Sauce makes between 1-3/4 cups, or a little less than 1 pint (adapted from Food in Jars’ Meyer Lemon Curd) […]

  36. 86
    Megan says:

    I just made this (after having it in yogurt at the farmer’s market) and it is AMAZING. I just used regular lemons because, well, King Sooper doesn’t have a great selection, but it came out so delicious. I didn’t bother to process it because, really, a single batch is not going to make it that long :D. Thank you!!

  37. 87
    June Hillman says:

    I want to make this curd closer to the Christmas Holiday season, but I have a tree that has ripe lemons now. My goal is to give as gifts. Can I get good results with frozen juice?

  38. 88
  39. 89

    […] For my first canning experience, I decided to adapt Marisa’s Meyer Lemon Curd. […]

  40. 90

    […] use the recipe from Food In Jars and I love it. If I remember correctly, I think it might be a Martha Stewart recipe that Marisa […]

  41. 91
    Jennifer says:

    Hey Marisa–

    I’m really anxious to try this recipe and the zesty lime curd recipe (pg 91) but my issue is this: I’m allergic to dairy. My thought is that I could substitute lard? (Sounds disgusting but it’s my go-to in lieu of butter) would that still work, or do you suggest something else? Also would I use the same amount?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Jennifer

  42. 92

    […] I bought the crust, cut it with a biscuit cutter and cooked in a mini muffin pan.  I made the lemon curd recipe from my Food in Jars cookbook that I got at the last Chicago Food swap. Though I used […]

  43. 93
    Kerri says:

    Wonderful blog! Not only great info, but ongoing discussion (with quality responders) so we just learn and learn and learn. Thankyou everyone for making this space so interesting. I won’t be using this recipe for curd as I have a heart healthy recipe (one yolk), but I sure will be back for advice on bottling and for other recipes that I can feed hubby.
    Kerri

  44. 94

    […] I can mix into yogurt, heap on top of ice cream, sandwich between two small sugar cookies, etc.) on Food in Jars. I have to use some major self-control to not eat this straight out of the jar! It is […]

  45. 95
    Sam says:

    Just wanted to come back and say I made this as christmas gifts last year, this year its been requested 10 fold. My mother in law wants nothing else this year except 3 litres of this glorious goodness. Every time it comes out perfect and easily adapts to doubling ( or in my case 8x!) Thankyou so much for sharing, just making it puts a smile on my face 🙂

  46. 96
    Laura says:

    I just made the orange vanilla curd from your cookbook. It is heavenly! I will have to work hard to not eat it all in one day!

  47. 97

    […] the lemons arrive, I make marmalade, jelly, dehydrated citrus slices, curd, and salt preserved lemons. It’s a joy to spend those hours squirreling away all the […]

  48. 98
    Pamela says:

    Today I brought Meyer Lemon Curd to my office mates I made last weekend-it was my turn to bring treats for team meeting. I got an awesome response. Two people almost genuflected to me. Thanks for the recipe!

  49. 99

    […] blood orange curd recipe is adapted from the  Food in Jars Meyer lemon curd recipe, http://foodinjars.com.s164546.gridserver.com/arugulapesto/2010/01/meyer-lemon-curd/ .  The only difference is that I used blood oranges instead of Meyer lemons.  I love this blog […]

  50. 100
    Ellen says:

    Oh my stars! I made this this evening, and it is better than I ever imagined!

    I have enough lemons (and eggs) left and I think I’ll have to make another batch tomorrow… Or more marmalade? I will sleep on it!

    Thank you for the fantastic blog!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Little Lemon Meringues « laughinglivingloving - April 2, 2011

    […] After happening on some good looking Meyer Lemons at the co-op, I started with her recipe for Lemon Curd, and was beyond excited when I finished and heard the seals on the jars pop!  I opened the first […]

  2. Lemon curd! « squishy.fishy - August 3, 2011

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    […] For those of you who like recipes in a traditional format, sans narrative, it is after the jump. Meyer Lemon Curd 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). Meyer Lemon Curd | Food in Jars […]

  5. Meyer Lemon Curd « Big Sis Little Dish - January 12, 2012

    […] I bought a LOT of Meyer lemons the other day.  At this time of year in NYC, Meyer lemons are sold in rather large bags….and then sometimes there is a two bags for the price of one and half bags.  So I bought a LOT of Meyer lemons.  I happen to be craving lemon, so it’s okay.  I made a Meyer Lemon Curd recipe that I found on  the blog Food In Jars (adapted from Martha Stewart). […]

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  8. Marmalade « Putting By - February 5, 2012

    […] the meantime I think I’m going to make some curd with the lemons from the second box and I’m hoping for a third box to make limoncello. […]

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    […] Then I was checking out Food in Jars, (since canning is one of my goals this year) and came across this recipe for Meyer lemon curd, which I cannot wait to try on some scones, or maybe even some buttermilk […]

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    […] _______________________________________________________________ Lime (or just about any citrus) Curd- aka Awesome Sauce makes between 1-3/4 cups, or a little less than 1 pint (adapted from Food in Jars’ Meyer Lemon Curd) […]

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    […] I bought the crust, cut it with a biscuit cutter and cooked in a mini muffin pan.  I made the lemon curd recipe from my Food in Jars cookbook that I got at the last Chicago Food swap. Though I used […]

  15. Meyer Lemon Curd « pastaandpeonies - December 8, 2012

    […] I can mix into yogurt, heap on top of ice cream, sandwich between two small sugar cookies, etc.) on Food in Jars. I have to use some major self-control to not eat this straight out of the jar! It is […]

  16. Preserves in Action: Pureed Preserved Lemons - Food in Jars | Food in Jars - January 16, 2013

    […] the lemons arrive, I make marmalade, jelly, dehydrated citrus slices, curd, and salt preserved lemons. It’s a joy to spend those hours squirreling away all the […]

  17. Blood Orange Curd | Coming Home to The Table - February 23, 2013

    […] blood orange curd recipe is adapted from the  Food in Jars Meyer lemon curd recipe, http://foodinjars.com.s164546.gridserver.com/arugulapesto/2010/01/meyer-lemon-curd/ .  The only difference is that I used blood oranges instead of Meyer lemons.  I love this blog […]

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