Making fruit curds such as lemon, orange, lime, strawberry or passion fuit, involves the addition of eggs and unsalted butter to the fruit to get a thick consistency.

However, the addition of the eggs does mean that they cannot be brought to boiling point or they would curdle and that is the reason why they do not last as long as jams.

For the same reason, it is advisable to store curd into smaller jars.

Eggs to be used should be fresh, but not newly laid [about two days old is ideal] and have deep-coloured yolks, especially for lemon curd.

The butter should be unsalted.

Fruit curds are generally made from citrus fruits, predominantly lemon, but itís worth trying out other fruits, such as gooseberries, quinces, apricots and cooking apples.

The same equipment as for jam making is necessary with the addition of a double saucepan or a heatproof-bowl placed over a pan of hot water.

General Method for Making Fruit Curds

Rinse the fruit and, if made from citrus fruit, remove very thin strips of rind and extract the juice.

In the case of citrus fruit place the rind, juice, unsalted butter and sugar in the top part of a double saucepan or heatproof-bowl over a hot pan of water on low heat.

Use a hammer to separate the pulp.

For other fruits, follow as per the recipe.

Dice the fruit and steam in a minimal amount of water and mush to a pulp.

Transfer to the top part of a double saucepan or heatproof-bowl over a hot pan of water over low heat before adding the butter and sugar.

Stir until the butter and sugar have dissolved.

Into a separate bowl, beat the eggs and then strain into the mixture to avoid getting any lumps or egg white into the curd.

Simmer gently, stirring to prevent it sticking to the pan or bowl until the curd coats the back of a spoon.

If, at the end of the cooking time the curd seems very thin, add another egg yolk and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more.

Immediately transfer into clean, hot, sterilized small jars right to the top and put a circle of waxed paper, waxed side down over the curd.

Wipe the jars clean and seal.

Leave to cool and then label with contents and date.

Store preferably in a refrigerator, if not in a cool, dark place.

Do remember that the curd will thicken as it cools and will also shrink, thus filling right to the top of the jar is important.

Curds will last about 3 months if kept in a refrigerator, 6 weeks in a cool, dark place and only about a week once they are opened.