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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
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TIP OF THE DAY: Lemon Zest

If you’re zesting lemons, limes, oranges or other citrus for a recipe, buy organic fruit if you can.

Conventional citrus crops are heavily sprayed with pesticides, and a simple rinse won’t dislodge all of it from the nooks and crannies of the rind.

The zest is the outermost part of the rind of citrus fruits (the white part underneath is called the pith). It has both a strong citrus flavor and intense, perfume-like aromatic oils.

To zest a citrus fruit:

  • If you’re handy with a knife, peel the zest from the rind with a sharp paring knife; or use a vegetable peelere. Then use a chef’s knife to cut it into julienne strips.
  • The less handy can use a special utensil called a zester.

    They may look pretty, but they’re covered in pesticide. Photo courtesy SXC.

  • If you need grated zest, simply use your hand-held grater and grate gently, avoiding the pith. A microplane makes this easy.
  • If you can’t get organic lemons and limes and don’t have a spray bottle of fruit and vegetable wash, take a kitchen brush and scrub the citrus thoroughly. You can use a bit of soap, as it washes off easily.

  • See the different types of lemons in our Lemon Glossary.
  • See the different types of limes in our Lime Glossary.

  • Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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