After you juice a grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange or other citrus, do you throw it away?
If so, you’re tossing out a delicious ingredient: the zest.
Zest is the outermost part of the rind/peel/skin. Before you juice the citrus, remove the zest for use in other recipes. Scraping or cutting it from the skin is known as zesting.
Note that the volatile oils in citrus peels are strongest just after zesting. So if possible, remove the zest just before you use it. Another tip: Finely grated zest releases more flavor than larger strips.
Zesting a lime. Zest got its name from the “zestiness” it adds to food. Photo by Villy Fink Isaksen Wikimedia.
Be sure to wash and dry the fruit well before zesting. If you can, buy organic or unwaxed citrus.
While some people use a paring knife, it’s much easier to use a zester (which creates julienne strips) or a zester grater like a Microplane, or the fine side of a box grater.
First decide how you’re going to use your zest: grated or strips. If the zest will be used for flavor and then removed (marinades, steeping in tea) it doesn’t make a difference. For garnish/eye appeal, use a regular zester. To dissolve into recipes (vinaigrette, sorbet) use a zester grater. We love our Cuisipro box grater.
If you’re going to buy a zester, get a combination zester-stripper, which also creates strips of peel for cocktails or garnish.
What are your favorite uses for lemon zest?
Comments are closed.