Lemon Curd & Making Homemade Gift Jars

Lemon Curd is one of my favorite treats. You can use it for a lot of different things but it’s probably most often used to make tarts. A lot of people probably associate Lemon Curd with the summer, which is why I actually like to make it during the more drearier time of year for a little bit of canned sunshine right in my kitchen.

The recipe I used came from the Ball Blue Book.

You can see a beautiful lemon tart right on the front cover of the Ball Blue Book. Now, why would I  be getting out my canning book at the beginning of winter? We’ve already had our first frost so there is nothing in the garden to can, but I still enjoy canning in the winter to make homemade gifts for people, to warm the house, stock up the pantry, etc. The garden might be dead, but I can still make plenty of things (lemon curd is not one of them— you freeze that) like apple pie filling for gifts, blueberry syrup, red pepper jelly, barbecue sauce, etc. The time to start making gifts is now!

Some recipes from the Ball Blue Book I’d like to can for homemade gifts:

  • Cinnamon Anise Jelly
  • Cranberry Cider Jelly
  • Tangerine Jelly
  • Spiced Honey
  • Pomegranate Sauce
  • Red Onion Marmalade
  • Ambrosia Conserve
  • Apple Butter

Here is what I ended up doing with my Lemon Curd:

This would be an easy treat to serve at a brunch. It’s just strawberry Jello pudding, vanilla yogurt and the lemon curd layered topped with silvered almonds and a raspberry. I layered them in juice glasses and served with a long tea-spoon.

I’m hoping to start on my gift jars soon. They will be given out along with boxes of homemade candy and cookies during the holidays. A lot of the canning equipment can be found rather inexpensively now since it is considered the “end of the season” for canning. This is a good starter package:

Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit

The Lemon Curd recipe is in the Ball Blue Book under the section for “freezer spreads”. You wouldn’t be able to put this in a gift basket since it needs to be refrigerated, but it would make a nice “canned” homemade gift for a neighbor. Just tell them to keep it in their refrigerator if they will be using it or to freeze it if they will not be using it soon. I gave a jar to my mom today for watching my kids. She was thankful for the homemade gift. To her, it means more than money. Remember, it’s the thought that counts and during gift-giving season some thoughts are better than others!

Depending on how lemony you want the lemon curd, or how healthy (or not healthy), you can try different recipes. The one in the Ball Blue Book is very tart. It’s good and a little healthier than other versions. It calls for more lemon and less sugar. Alton Brown’s is more sugar, less lemon and twice as much butter! Here is what he recommends:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled

Here is what the Ball Blue Book calls for:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • grated peel of one lemon
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled


Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


  1. janemaynard
    Posted November 9, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    hi there! just wanted to let you know that we featured this post on the FoodPress.com homepage today under “favorite food photos”. love both of the photos (had to choose one) and I can just taste the lemon curd! keep up the good work! jane

  2. Posted November 9, 2010 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I’m honored!

  3. Posted November 10, 2010 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    That looks so perfect, i will definitely treat myself with this recipe


  4. Posted November 10, 2010 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    licking the screeeeeen!!!!!!!!!!!!!