I wasn’t going to post this recipe. Homemade lemon curd works out at a fraction of the price of shop-bought lemon curd – and tastes so much more zingy and delicious – but I feel a bit strange about adding a recipe that uses four eggs, lashings of butter and a packet of sugar to the collection of Thrifty Food posts.
But after I added a picture of slow cooker lemon curd to my Thrifty February Sunday post, Miss Thrifty reader Michelle asked if I would share the recipe. She would like to make it for her mum as a Mother’s Day treat. I approve of this sentiment: indeed, the two jars pictured above have already been spirited down to Essex, one for my mum and one for Frugal Grandma when she returns from her deluxe cruise.
It’s cheaper to buy lemons in bulk – Morrisons are currently selling five lemons for £1 – but if you don’t use them all in time, the leftover fruits begin to go small and hard. They are difficult to zest, but the concentrated juice still makes great lemon curd.
(Otherwise, there are many uses for lemons within the house: see Six Thrifty Uses For a Lemon for a few of them.)
So here’s the recipe. It’s a good’un. The advantage of making it in the slow cooker is that you can pour it into the pot and leave it there all day until it is done – it is about as low-maintenance as preserve-making gets.
- 125g unsalted butter
- 400g caster sugar (most of a small packet)
- 3 lemons
- 1 orange
- 4 eggs
- Juice and zest the fruit. If you don't have a zesting tool, just grate the outer rinds instead.
- Add the butter, sugar, juice and zest to a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
- Add the mixture to your bowl or basin, and leave to cool for 10 minutes. While it is cooling, beat the eggs.
- Add the beaten eggs to the mixture, and mix well.
- Cover the top of the bowl with tin foil. Put the bowl in the slow cooker, and add hot water to come halfway up the bowl's sides. Place the lid on the slow cooker.
- Cook on the low setting for 4-6 hours, until the curd has cooked and thickened. Give it a quick stir every couple of hours.
- Sterilise your jars. Fill them with hot lemon curd and leave to cool.
Incidentally, there is always talk of using wax discs to seal your jam in the jar and allowing it to keep for longer. I didn’t bother sealing these jars, because I knew the lemon curd would be gone in the blink of an eye. But it used to be that when I made jam, I would use old-fashioned paraffin wax. It is fiddly and messy though:
So now I have taken up with cellophane jam pot covers:
These come with wax circles as thin as paper, and are simple and easy to use. You fill the jam to the very top of the jar and then, while the jam is still hot, plonk on a wax circle. You top that with a dampened cellophane cover, and secure with an elastic band. As the cover dries, it contracts to give a tight wax seal. My local hardware store sells these covers in bags of 24, along with the wax circle and elastic bands, for £1.25 a pop. That works out at just over 5p each. You can also get them on Amazon.