3 Best Ways to Zest a Lemon (Or any other Citrus Skin)
There are many different ways you can zest a lemon or any other citrus fruit, the easiest by far is to invest some money in a micro zester. A very handy tool to have in the kitchen not just for zesting but it can also be used to finely grate hard and medium cheeses such as cheddar and Parmesan and chocolate for your garnishing, apart from that you can also use it to grate garlic and ginger with ease.
Lemon Zest Meaning
The zest is the colorful yellow portion of the peel or rind. The white pith is bitter and unpleasant, while the zest has the bright flavor of the fruit with a citrusy aroma. When choosing a lemon for using it to zest try to find one with thick skin, this is because when you zest the lemon you want the upper yellow part of the rind and that’s exactly what makes a zest different from the peel. Peel is the entire skin which includes the white pith as well.
Lemon Zest Alternative
Some lemon zest alternatives can be :
- Lemon Extract (If the Original recipes call for One tsp of lemon zest, use half tsp of lemon extract)
- Dried Lemon Peel (You can use the equal amount as the original recipe)
- You can even use the zest of orange or other citrus fruit (Same amount)
Whether a recipe calls for grated lemon (or orange or lime) zest, peel, or rind, you want to use only the upper part of the skin which has all the fragrant oils, and not the unpleasant white pith. It’s the colorful zest that adds the bright acidic flavor of the fruit.
There are a few ways to zest citrus fruits; how you choose to do it should partly depend on how you’ll use it.
How to Zest a lemon with a zester
A zester is a nifty tool with small sharp-edged holes that cut off long, thin strips of zest, which can then be minced; they are wonderful for garnishing when whole.
How to Zest a Lemon with a Peeler or Paring Knife
Another method is to use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the peel in long ribbons which can be used for rimming cocktail glasses.
Unless you’re skilled with the knife or peeler, this technique inevitably brings part of the bitter white pith with it. To do a perfect job, you should then lay the strips down on a cutting board and scrape the white part off with a paring knife, then slice or mince as you like.
How to Zest A Lemon With A Grater
The third method is to use a sharp micro grater which results in tiny flecks of zest that are nearly undetectable in dishes except for their flavor. When using a grater, do it slowly with light pressure as you do not want to grate the bitter white part. You will get an idea about when to stop when you see the zest coming out is becoming lighter in color and lemon becomes hard to grate.
When grating the zest of citrus fruit, grate the whole thing, even if you only need a small amount. You can store the extra grated zest in small airtight pouches made of plastic wrap, and keep them in the freezer for a month. They’re terrific to have on hand when you need to brighten a soup, sauce, or dressing.