Proper zesting techniques

There are a few different ways to utilize the zest of our favorite citrus fruits – which one you use depends upon the end result you’re going for – long strips, thinly minced, or somewhere in between.

Of course, what dish you’re incorporating the zest into should be considered.

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What is “zest,” exactly? By definition it is the “outermost part of the rind of an orange, lemon, or other citrus fruit, used as flavoring.”

Besides contributing a refreshing punch of citrus flavor to sweet or savory dishes, not surprisingly zest can also serve as a pretty garnish.

There are four primary tools for zesting: a grater, a knife, a vegetable peeler, and of course, a zester; I’m including microplanes under the category of graters.

Here’s the breakdown: 

Grater: used for very fine zest.

Knife: used for long, thick, strips of zest.

Vegetable peeler: Used for chunky pieces of zest.

Zester: Used for cute, ribbony zest.

Using a knife or a vegetable peeler, you can make longer strips of zest, which are ideal for garnishing drinks.

Most important tips:

Avoid getting the white membrane part of the fruit in with the zest; it’s bitter.

  • Use zest right away, as it will lose its flavor over time.
  • Zest is able to be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days; you can also freeze or dry it.

1 thought on “Proper zesting techniques

  1. Thanks Erin. I recently used a microplane which worked fine. I didn’t realize that peeling was also cosidered zesting.

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