Limes were on sale last week so naturally I bought twenty of them. At ten for a dollar how could I not? Immediately my boyfriend got suspicious. “Great. Well those are going to go bad,” he dismissed. “Au contraire!” I protested. “Yeah, whats the plan then?” he countered. I proudly whipped out a sixer of Corona Lights (also on sale.) With an incredulous eyebrow raised and a slight shake of his head he dropped the subject but I knew I would have to find something to do with all of these limes.
After eyeballing numerous recipes for coconut lime cake, lime shortbread, and some sexy looking end of summer margaritas I decided to go with lime curd. I still had nearly a dozen yolks left over from the angel food cake, and I couldn’t think of a brighter topping to go with the cake and remaining blueberries. But I couldn’t stop there. Lime curd takes only a tablespoon of zest and half a cup of juice and I had mountains of limes spilling out of bowls and rolling off of my table that needed to be wrangled and put to use. Oh, and if you find yourself in a similar situation with say lemons, oranges, mineolas, buddha’s hands, etc instead of limes, go for it! Any citrus is interchangeable in these recipes.
Now I hate to waste anything. HATE IT. My freezer is jam packed full of frozen pineapple skins (waiting to be made into vinegar), chicken skins (waiting to be made into schmaltz), peach pits (waiting to be made into ice cream and almond extract), leftover french press coffee frozen into coffee ice cubes, and more. You get the idea. If you ever get the chance check out Eugenia Bone’s The Kitchen Ecosystem. She’s kind of a kitchen role model for me. It was because of her book that I decided to zest each and every lime.
Take half a cup of the zest and put it in a cleaned glass salad dressing bottle or pint jar. Top it off with vodka, replace the cap, shake it up nicely, and put it away. Pretend that it doesn’t exist for at least a month, if you can’t help but remember it a little shaking from time to time is good. After that it’s ready to be used. And there you have it: your own homemade lime extract. Easy peasy. Seriously I cannot think of anything easier and more rewarding than pouring vodka on stuff and ignoring it. Heck, if you can ignore it for up to six months you’re really in for a treat.
Lime curd is a little trickier but actually it’s quite easy and super quick make. Be aware however that it has to sit in the fridge for at least and evening before it will be ready to be used. Whenever working with custard/curd/cooked egg pastry dishes I like to use a candy thermometer. Of course if you have the feel for it you can do the whole “coats a back of a spoon” test but I don’t find that to be the best indicator, and I want my curd to taste of citrus, not scrambled eggs. If you don’t have a candy thermometer that’s fine but make sure to go slow and test frequently.
The recipe is from Epicurious.
You will need: A fine mesh strainer, a medium heavy bottomed pot, a medium glass bowl, a whisk, some plastic wrap, a spatula, and preferably a candy thermometer.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
- In the pot on medium low heat melt the butter.
- Add in the zest, juice, sugar, and salt. Whisk together to combine. Turn the heat up to medium.
- Place your strainer over your glass bowl.
- Whisking constantly pour in the egg yolks. Do not stop whisking at any point from here on out!
- Cook on medium until the curd begins to thicken. At no point should this come to a boil. You should not see any lumps forming. The mixture will begin to smell like butter and lime, with a slight hint of yolk. If your’s smells like scrambled eggs that went on a Mexican holiday then your heat is too high.
- The curd is cooked when your thermometer reads 185°F, or for you spoon testers, when the curd coats the back of the spoon and does not drip down after running your finger through the curd. (The original recipe said 165° but that did not allow my curd to properly set. I have found 185° works great.)
- Immediately pour the curd through the strainer. Toss out whatever the strainer catches. If you want extra zest you can add a couple teaspoons in later. Cover the curd with plastic wrap, so that the wrap is touching the curd. This prevents a skin from forming.
- Chill in the refrigerator overnight.
This recipe should keep for about a week and half. It’s great on toast, angel food cake, and stirred into homemade ice cream. Heck you can even make ice cream out of the curd! Just mix a cup of curd with a cup of heavy cream and churn it using your ice cream maker.
The zest that I did not use I vacuum sealed and then froze for later. The left over juice got a similar treatment, being frozen into 2 tablespoon ice cube sizes and stored in a plastic quart container, which is great for cooking fish, adding to tropical vinaigrettes, or using in cocktails.
Oh, by the way, limes are three for a dollar this week so I feel totally vindicated. High five.