Warning: This is the sweetest little jar of curd you ever did taste. It is highly addictive. Especially when a dollop is plopped atop a gingersnap.
SNAP! That’s some good curd!
My good friend Valerie and I had planned a canning get together with our other good friends, Grace and Akemi. This was during the holiday season and we were planning on making gifts for teachers and friends. Valerie came up with the brilliant idea of canning cranberry curd. Now – I know what you’re thinking. IS THAT SAFE? Yes, it is. Please see explanation at bottom of post.
We quickly modified the recipe based on our joint knowledge of food preservation guidelines. But the end result was so wickedly delicious I ended up making an even larger batch at home several weeks later, carefully documenting my changes to make this both delicious and safe.
A final quick note: cranberries are not local to the bay area. Gosh, I think it is one of the few things we DON’T grow! But I was able to score bags of fresh organic cranberries from Trader Joe’s for a pretty good price (I think $2.99, if my memory serves correct). Curd is rich and delicious and, therefore, I like to can it in small 4 ounce jars to ensure I don’t eat a whole cup at once. ‘Cuz I will. Besides, if you can them in 4 ounce jars, there are more to give!
If you have frozen cranberries that made it past Thanksgiving, here’s a wonderful way to get them out of the freezer and into the jar!
makes fourteen-sixteen 4 ounce jars
1 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus zest of 1 orange
10 TBSP unsalted butter
6 large egg yolks, plus 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Sterilize your jars and lids.*
- Combine cranberries, juice, zest and 1 cup water in a stainless steel saucepan. Cook over low heat until the cranberries pop, about 15 minutes. Press through a fine-meshed sieve and discard solids.
- Return the purée to the saucepan. Add the butter and sugar, stirring until dissolved. Scoop a few tablespoons of the warm cranberry mixture into the eggs, tempering them in order to prevent scrambling. Pour the egg/cranberry mixture into the purée. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Ladle curd into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and seal the jar.
- Process in a boiling water bath for fifteen minutes (start counting once the water has reached a boil), more depending on altitude.
* If you’re making the full recipe, which is too much to can in one batch in a canner bath, you might consider using the oven for this project. In which case you need to preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. While it is pre-heating, simply put your jars into the oven, on a cookie sheet, to sterilize. They should be in there at least 20 minutes, but leaving them in the oven the entire time you are working on your recipe will be more than enough! When you’re ready to can the curd, take the cookie sheet out of the oven, fill the jars (follow regular canning instructions on filling) and put the lidded jars back into the oven for 15 minutes, more depending on altitude.
Why it’s safe: I know there are a bunch of people who are skeevy about canning a curd. And you should be! Good for you for not wanting to get botulism! If I hadn’t made it my New Year’s resolution to not swear, I’d put a little badge on this recipe that said “Don’t FU*& with this recipe!” But…I am trying not to swear. So I can’t do that. But please, don’t modify this recipe unless you know what you’re doing. You can safely halve the recipe. So…how am I confident this is safe? Here is the USDA’s recipe for safely canning lemon curd. A reminder that the biggest safety issue with a canning recipe has to do with the pH of a recipe. A recipe with a pH of 4.6 or lower can be canned safely in a canner bath. Lemons and cranberries are very acidic, and they are about the same pH (around 2.4). Very safe. In the case of a curd recipe, proteins are added (butter and egg) which will affect the pH of the end product. But you will note that in comparison to the USDA’s lemon curd recipe, I used more juice and more berries (meaning my recipe is even MORE acidic) and LESS butter and eggs, comparatively. Therefore…you have no reason to worry about the pH level being safe for canning purposes.
More pretty pictures!