No doubt you’ve cut lemon and lime circles and twists for garnish, and wedges to squeeze over beverages, salads, seafoods, and so on.
We have long used a channel zester to carve vertical lines in fruits and vegetables, creating a design in the fruit and strips of peel for garnish.
THE GROOVY JOYS OF CHANNEL ZESTING
James Beard said: “Two of of my best friends are a stripper and a zester.”
When you use it to cut channels (grooves) into, you can create edible art—not to mention ingredients for recipes and garnishing.
If you want very fine pieces for garnish or grated peel for a recipe, run the row of sharp holes over the item.
The channel knife (the little blade in the larger opening) lets you create peel garnishes with little effort.
Someone with dexterity can carve the entire peel in one continuous strip, to decorate a punch bowl or a platter.
If you’re serving a grapefruit half and enjoy carving (we find it very therapeutic), carve horizontal grooves. You can do this the day before, and halve the grapefruit before serving.
Whatever you carve, save any leftover peel for garnish, salads, tea, etc.
When zesting citrus, avoid the bitter white pith under the peel.
Zest is the colored, outermost skin layer of citrus fruits; its volatile (essential) oils make it highly perfumed.
Zest is rich in antioxidants: flavonoids, bioflavonoids and limonoids. It is used to flavor sweet and savory dishes; it can be candied for pastry use or as a sweetmeat (e.g., candied grapefruit peel).
Citrus fruits are native to Southeast Asia where they have been cultivated for over 4,000 years.
In the U.S., Florida has the most acres of citrus trees (654,747). California is second with 303,101 acres.
Per capita consumption of citrus fruits in the U.S. was 21.7 pounds in 2005, down from 23.5 pounds in 2000.
Oranges and grapefruits do not ripen after they are picked, but lemons and limes do.
Citrus pith is the major source for commercial pectin manufacture, used to thicken jelly and other foods.
 Grooves cut with a channel zester.
 When sliced, the groves create flower-like slices (photos #1 and #2 courtesy IdTryThat | WordPress).
 Elaborate channeling creates beautiful food art (photo courtesy The Eddy | NYC).