Kitchen Tips – Understanding Zesting

Gather ’round children, and we shall explore the wonderful world of zesting. Last week I shared a recipe that called for lemon zest, so today we’ll learn what it is, how to get it, and pitfalls to consider.

Hello, Lime

Zest is the (very) thing skin on citrus fruit like oranges, lemons and limes. Containing oils, zest has a strong citrus flavor, and is most commonly used in desserts such as cookies or pies, but can be used in other things such as drinks and salads. Growing up, my mother would bake “orange peel” cookies, which often perplexed me. “Isn’t the peel garbage?” Not so!

Lime Zest

The best tool for zesting is a microplane grater, but a standard grater can work as well (using the side with the smallest holes). Just delicately grate the color off your fruit. You can even peel it of with a paring knife and a steady hand. The only thing to be careful of is the white stuff under the color, called pith. Pith is bad. Pith is the weird uncle, that one that is a little…. off. Pith is bitter and can really ruin your dish, so be sure to only take the zest and not the pith!

Feeling adventurous? Want to practice your newly acquired skill? Here are a few recipes that use the mighty zest.



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