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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