Garden, Plant, Cook!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Curds, Jam and Sauce - Oh My!

Dear Folks,

For some years now I've been canning.  Sometimes spring fruit like peaches or apricots, or making my own whole berry cranberry sauce for the holidays.

I got on a roll the last couple of days and tried my hand at Lemon Curd, using our first crop of meyer lemons from our young tree.  I am in awe of how simple this was, after reading for years about the protracted methods illustrated.  I found a basic idea on the internet and modified it slightly for my use.

Our pineapple guava gave us an abundance of fruit this year and I went looking for other things to do with the fruit besides eating it fresh.  Bam! Jam!

I did not process the lemon curd but will the next time I make it.  I am testing a small jar of it frozen to see how it does when I thaw it out. (Internet notes are yay and nay on freezing curd.)

So my recipes.

Whole Cranberry Sauce
16 oz fresh cranberries (I used organic)
1 1/3 cups sugar (again organic)
1 1/3 cups water.

Dump all in a sauce pan, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Watch because it will want to foam up.  Cook until all berries burst and the syrup thickens.  About 20 minutes.

Water bath can for 15 minutes.

Pineapple Guava Jam

2 cups pineapple guava pulp*
1 1/2 cups sugar (organic)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (organic or your own tree fruit if you can)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (get Ceylon if you can)

If you want to control discoloration of the fruit prepare a bowl of acidulated water to drop fruit in after scooping.

Cut pineapple guava fruit in half lengthwise and scoop pulp out with a spoon.
Place fruit, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a pot, cover and bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cook stirring occasionally for 35 minutes.

Water bath process for 15 minutes.

*You may wish to chop fruit before cooking or you can use an immersion blender after cooking before canning.

Lemon Curd is one of the foods many people, including myself, have been in love with but very hesitant to make (like making hollandaise or mayonnaise - there is the fear of really, really messing it up).

Also most recipes call for egg yolks or a mix of egg yolks and whole eggs.  While I have things I can make with whites only - I did not want to have to deal with.

So I went seriously looking when my meyer lemons ripened and needed to be used.

I have a great recipe on - and as the folks there note you can make curd with lime or orange (also read a recipe the other day - elsewhere - for cranberry curd - going to have to try that - maybe for Christmas).

 Lemon Curd
 3 large eggs (using whole egg) 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest 
1/3 cup lemon juice 
1/2 cup butter (one 4 oz stick) 

Eggs, sugar and butter are organic, and my lemons are grown without chemicals.

Here is where the process is easier than some recipes call for.
Melt butter in a separate pourable container.
Whisk eggs, add sugar and whisk to dissolve sugar, add lemon juice and pour in sauce pan and heat med low (3.5) as it starts to thicken, add lemon zest and butter in a steady stream while stirring. Stirring constantly until it thickens. This may take about 5 minutes after you add the butter.

Jar up and chill.  Use within 2 weeks.

As I noted I'm testing a small jar in the freezer to see if it thaws without breaking. 

I hope these give you some ideas for using your own fruit or great fruits you find at the farmers market.  (Meyer Lemons are in season now.)

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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