Can't get any fresher than this!Knock knock.

Earlier this week, a friend ordered four jars of lemon and 8 jars of orange curd and 1 1/2 dozen pumpkin scones. She’s putting together holiday baskets for her neighbors. Tonight, after getting truffle makings together, I turned my attention to the citrus.

Nearly 12 years ago, I was wandering around midtown when I spied oranges hanging from a tree. Until that moment, I had no idea that oranges and lemons came into season during winter.  Sure, I’d gotten an orange in my stocking every year as a kid, but I’d thought citrus was rare  in winter. Shrugs shoulders. I went to HS and college in Ohio where nothing truly grows in winter except Burl Ives’ items like holy and ivy and mistletoe.

I thought about this tonight as I scrubbed the lemons(meyers) and oranges (valencia and mandarin) harvested from friends’ fruit trees. The difference in scent alone between store-bought lemons and fresh-picked is night and day.

Orange peel stripsUsing a potato peeler, I removed the pith from several oranges and lemons. Attempt to remove as little as the pith as possible as your removing the rind.

There will alway be a bit left on the backside of the pith but you can remove this easily using a sharp paring knife.Scrapping the pith off

For the orange curd, I placed the peels into the food processor with a cup or so of sugar and gave it a few spins. Then, I toss the mixture into a pyrex bowl set atop a pot of simmering water, added six eggs and four egg yolks (beaten), 1/2 c. fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 TBSP. fresh squeezed lemon juice, and a dash of salt. Once I’d whisked these together, I began adding pats of butter (1/2 c.). I set the timer and began whisking here and there until the mixture could coat the back of a spoon (about 15 minutes).

Meyer lemon and orange curdI choose to use a double boiler set up because citrus curd is basically sugar, acid, fat, and protein. I find the curd has an overly eggy taste when cooked over direct heat. It takes longer using this method, but I prefer the resulting texture and taste more.

I prepped and filled 12 half-pint Mason jars. As the valencia and mandarin rinds have such a lovely taste, I did not strain the curd prior to placing it into jars.

I repeated the process for the lemon curd but omitted the orange juice in lieu of lemon and I strained the curd prior to placing into the jars. Here’s the final product, all ready to be picked up tomorrow!

Friends make filling order fun!A lot of folks ask me where I get the energy to work all day and then come home and fill orders. Well, honestly, my friends. I was feeling a wee bit tired and honestly, a little weary tonight. I put a post up on Facebook inviting locals over to keep me company. My friend Mr. H showed up with my two most favorite treats—local Guthner’s eggnog and RUM!!  His wife was home figuring out a new TV system, so he came over with a craft project and hung out. Mostly, I gave him help here and there with his project and we made each other laugh. Full belly laughs that left me smiling ear to ear. Baking and sweet-treat making would be lonely business without them coming by and keeping me company. Thanks to each of you who have wandered over these last few months.

That’s how I do it.

I love my neighborhood. I love my friends. They make this town and this little house home. 

Merry Christmas.
xo JIG

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