What is Curd

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What is Curd
I think of curd as if it is pudding in a jar. With the citrus season here, it’s  time to make curd. Fruit curd is a delicious dessert spread.
Curd is a fruit based dessert spread and topping, usually made with lemon. Specific types of fruit curd are named after the central curd in them. For example,  made with lemons is known as ” Lemon Curd”. The basic ingredients are eggs ( sometimes yolks only or whites only or whole eggs  ), sugar, unsalted butter, fruit juice and zest, which are gently cooked together until thick ( trying not to make scrambled eggs) and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, intensely-flavored spread.  In the late 19th and early 20th century,in England home-made lemon curd was traditionally served with bread or scones at afternoon tea as an alternative to jam, and as a filling for cakes, small pastries and tarts.
Homemade lemon curd was usually made in relatively small amounts as it did not keep as well as jam. In more modern times, larger quantities are feasible because of the use of refrigeration. Commercially manufactured curds often contain additional preservatives and thickening agents. This is why I can.
Modern commercially made curds are still a popular spread for bread, scones, toast, waffles, crumpets, pancakes, or muffins. They can also be used as a flavoring for desserts or yogurt. Lemon-meringue pie, made with lemon curd and topped with meringue has been a favorite dessert in Britain and the United States since the nineteenth century.
Curds are different from pie fillings or custards in that they contain a higher proportion of fruit  juice and zest, which gives them a more intense flavor.  Also, curds containing butter have a smoother and creamier texture than both pie filling and custards; both contain little or no butter and use cornstarch or flour for thickening.  Never use flour or cornstarch when canning. If you need a thickener use Clear Jel. Clear Jel is a modified cornstarch used in canning, like for pie filling.  Never use salted butter, it has iodine and it will make the curd an ugly color.
Additionally, unlike custard, curds are not usually eaten on their own. Fruit curds can be made using lemons,  limes, tangerines, passion fruit, mangoes, blackberries, oranges ( I like using vanilla bean in my Orange Curd) and cranberries.
If you are planing to make homemade curd for Holidays gifts, put the date you made it, and the date it needs to be eaten by. Homemade curd  is good for three months in the jars.   Happy Holidays and Happy Canning.

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Pectin

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Some fruits contain a natural pectin, some posses a great deal of acid and a few have both. Here is a list of fruit that contain pectin and acid (both of which are necessary to make the product gel):

Cranberries, quinces, green apples, blackberries, concord grapes, plums, gooseberries, orange and lemon rind all contain pectin and acid. Peaches, pears, cherries, strawberries, pineapples, and rhubarb contain practically no pectin when ripe, so pectin or some other gelling substance must be added. Pears and sweet apples, although high in pectin, contain practically no acid and so require the addition of bottle lemon juice in place of an acid. Some fruit like pears have more pectin in them when not ripe. So when I make pear jam I always use a few pears that are not yet ripe and one granny smith apple. This ensures I do not need extra pectin.

A jelly bag is a convenient tool to use when straining juice to make jelly. If one is not available, a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth works well. When using a jelly bag or cheesecloth, it is important to dampen the cloth with warm water and wring it out before squeezing fruit through it. This helps to avoid absorption of juice by the cloth. Squeezing the jelly bag or pushing the fruit through will yield more juice but yields a cloudy product. If you choose to squeeze or push, you might try filtering the juice a second time for a more clear product. After each use, scrupulously clean the jelly bag before storing; any remaining juice or pulp will sour and ruin your jelly bag. Remember to wipe the jar rim with a clean, damp cloth to remove any spilled food which could prevent the jar from sealing.

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Helpful Tips For Jam and Jellies

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Some fruits contain a natural pectin, some posses a great deal of acid and a few have both. Here is a list of fruit that contain pectin and acid (both of which are necessary to make the product gel):

Cranberries, quinces, green apples, blackberries, concord grapes, plums, gooseberries, orange and lemon rind all contain pectin and acid. Peaches, pear, cherries, strawberries, pineapples, and rhubarb contain practically no pectin when ripe, so pectin or some other gel substance must be added. Pears and sweet apples, although high in pectin, contain practically no acid and so require the addition of bottle lemon juice in place of an acid. Some fruit like pear have more pectin in them when not ripe. So when I make pear jam I always use a few pears that are not yet ripe and one granny smith apple. This ensures I do not need extra pectin.

A jelly bag is a convenient tool to use when straining juice to make jelly. If one is not available, a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth works well. When using a jelly bag or cheesecloth, it is important to dampen the cloth with warm water and wring it out before squeezing fruit through it. This helps to avoid absorption of juice by the cloth. Squeezing the jelly bag or pushing the fruit through will yield more juice but yields a cloudy product. If you choose to squeeze or push, you might try filtering the juice a second time for a more clear product. After each use, scrupulously clean the jelly bag before storing; any remaining juice or pulp will sour and ruin your jelly bag. Remember to wipe the jar rim with a clean, damp cloth to remove any spilled food which could prevent the jar from sealing.

See you in class