Curd isn't a very appetizing word, is it? Sounds nothing like what it tastes like. Whether it's lemon, lime, orange, or all three, like in this case--curd is delicious, but curd is not a fun word to say. It sounds like the promise of grossness to be arriving shortly. :P
What if we called it "Velvety Lemon Cream?" "Lime Dollops of Goodness?" "Make Anything Bland Taste Like Sunshine?" hehe! You get the idea. Even if it IS called curd, it still tastes delicious!
Pixie at You Say Tomahto, I Say Tomayto , and Rosie from Rosie Bakes a 'Peace' of Cake are having a Putting Up event. I've never done canning or preserving before, and well...it's kind of a scary thing, isn't it? Will it work? Will I have jars of green fuzz in two months? Will these green fuzzy foods take over my pantry, and then THE WORLD?!?! And a slew of other questions. That's right, a slew! It seems like tricky business, that canning stuff....
So I decided to start with something easy, to test the waters. I figured a curd would be good and easy, and since I've always wanted to make some, it was a great choice. And a freezer strawberry jam! Yeah, that'll be good, because all I have to do is mix it up and chill it, and then it'll be good in the freezer for up to one year. And it didn't hurt that Trader Joe's had big packs of strawberries calling my name. And lastly, a couldn't-be-simpler recipe from Everyday food for Cherry Lime Jam, that takes about ten minutes to make. Ridiculously easy!
First up is the curd, or Citrusy Dollops of Goodness. ;) I had stopped by the farmer's market the other day and picked up some minneolas, lemons and limes. I didn't want to get overwhelmed making three types of curd, so I looked for a recipe that had all three fruits in it. I found this one at NY Times online. It's easy and so good--I've been putting it on all kinds of things. Food things! Don't get any freaky ideas! ;)
I also read on Fine Cooking that you can freeze it for a few months. It doesn't freeze solid, so you can spoon out what you need. This way, you can make more at once and save some for later. Yeah...later, like two days from now, after you've inhaled the first jar. And blamed it on the kids. Or the dogs. Do dogs like Dollops of Citrusy Goodness? Hmmm...doesn't matter...they can't speak up and defend themselves, can they? Poor little suckers!
Three Citrus Curd from NY Times
3 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes.
1. Grate zest from one orange, the lemon and the lime. Set aside. Squeeze juice from all citrus into a sieve set over a bowl. Press on solids to extract all juice. Try to get all the juice you can out of them--I got about 1 1/4 cups from these, using the juicer attachment on my food processor.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the yolks and whole eggs with sugar and salt. Whisk in strained juice.
3. Transfer mixture to a heavy saucepan and set over very low heat. Add butter. Using a wooden spoon, stir curd constantly, making sure to reach edges around side of pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened enough to mound when dropped from spoon, 10 to 15 minutes. If mixture starts to curdle, immediately take pot off heat and stir vigorously. If mixture does not thicken, raise heat very slightly and stir vigilantly.
**I did the wooden spoon test. After 15 minutes, run your finger along the back of the spoon, and it should leave a trail through the curd. Also, it says "very low heat" in the recipe. I didn't think that was doing a whole lot, so I upped it to between low and medium, or about 3 on the dial. And it didn't seem like it was going to thicken, but in the last 30 seconds or so, it was magically transformed into Citrusy Dollops of Goodness. Whew!
4. Strain curd through a fine sieve into a bowl (or you may have small lumps! Fine Cooking says you can whiz it all in a food processor first to avoid having lumps--same link as above)). Stir in zest.
5. Cover top of curd directly with plastic wrap so a skin will not form. Chill until quite cold and thick, at least 4 hours. (I did not cover the surface with plastic wrap. I poured directly into a 16.9 oz mason jar, covered it and put in the fridge to cool.) (Well, after my 13 year old and I sampled some. A lot.)
Yield: 1 1/4 cups.
They also include a Ginger Curd variation (how good does that sound?):
Ginger Curd Variation: Grate a 4-inch piece of ginger root as finely as possible and, using your fingers, press pulp down into a sieve set over a bowl to obtain juice. You should have 3 tablespoons; yield will vary depending upon how fresh ginger is.
Cook eggs, sugar, salt and butter into a curd as directed in the recipe above. After straining, stir in as much of the ginger juice as you like. Cover and chill as above. This yields a scant cup.
Low Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam
Original recipe found here. I don't like overly sweet strawberry jam, so this one was perfect! I could put the amount I wanted in it. For this recipe, which I doubled, I used 3/4 cup of sugar, but it's to taste, so you can add more, or less if you like.
It's so easy! And like I said, I doubled it, and got the one 16.9 oz mason jar, plus two 16 oz freezer jam containers. That should last us at least a little while.
Low Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe
2 cups crushed strawberries (approximately 1 quart fresh berries)
2 cups water
1 – 1.75 oz. box of No or Low Sugar pectin
Sugar or non-sugar sweetener (to taste)
Rinse and hull strawberries. Crush them, leaving some nice chucks in there. Though looking back, mine could have used more torture, I mean crushing.
Combine 2 cups strawberries and 1 cup of water.
Add up to 3 cups of sugar or a non-sugar sweetener to taste. ( 3 cups! Holy sugar high!)
Mix thoroughly and let stand 10 minutes.
Stir 1 package of No or Low Sugar pectin into 1 cup water in a small saucepan.
Boil 1 minute over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
Transfer cooked pectin mixture to a large bowl.
Slowly stir fruit into pectin, stirring for 3 minutes.
Ladle jam into jars or containers, leaving ½ inch of headspace.
Screw or place lids on tightly. (Okaaaay...but can I do the first part later? Because these have to get in the fridge, and time's a wastin'!)
Let jam stand in refrigerator until set, but no longer than 24 hours.
Store in freezer for up to 1 year or keep in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Low Sugar Cherry Lime Jam
This one is from Everyday Food Magazine. I saw it a while ago,and really wanted to make it, but was putting it off. Why? No idea, because it's so easy! I love anything cherry, and I love lime, so i was sure I'd love this one. And I do! It calls for a 12 oz bag of frozen cherries, but mine was 16 oz, so I used the whole thing and just increased the other ingredients a little bit. EXCEPT the cornstarch, which I forgot to increase, so it's a little runny, but still so good. And I also added 1/4 tsp of almond extract to enhance the cherries.
Low-Sugar Cherry-Lime Jam
Makes 3/4 cup
* 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen cherries
* 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 teaspoon cornstarch
* 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1. Combine cherries, zest, sugar, water, and extract in a medium saucepan.
2. Cook over medium-high until thickened and bubbles start to form--6 to 8 minutes.
3. Stir cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of cold water together.
4. Stir into cherry mixture. Boil and keep stirring for 1 minute; cool.
5. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
So in the end, this was really fun! It's fun to look in the fridge (or freezer) and see jars of things that you've made! It must be even more satisfying to look on your pantry shelves and see things that you've preserved and can enjoy much later. So hopefully, this will get me started on that path. It would be nice to preserve some of the things we grow in our garden this summer.
Please check out Pixie's blog, and keep an eye out for the round up on May 21st!