Zest Citrus Fruits

There is an incredible amount of flavor in the oily skin of citrus fruits. The skin, or zest, even has more flavor than the juice itself! Knowing how to zest citrus fruits is incredibly helpful because it will add complex and intense acidity to a dish. So here’s how to zest citrus fruits!

The first task is to decide which of the three techniques you plan to use.

1) Zester
– The first is to use a zester. A zester is about the size of a paring knife, but instead of a blade, there are four small holes on the end. These tiny holes cut the zest into small strips, leaving the white pith and flesh behind. Zesters are useful because they are quick and easy to use. However, they only serve one purpose, so it’s a gadget that won’t get a ton of use.

2) Paring Knife
– The second is to cut a thin layer of the zest off with a paring knife. It can take some practice to remove only the zest and none of the white pith (it’s important to get rid of all of the white because it’s very bitter). You can then cut the zest strips into julienne pieces. This type of citrus zest is perfect for candied zest on sweet desserts.

3) Microplane/Fine Grater
– The third technique is to use a microplane. The easiest and fastest of the three techniques, it’s very similar to any other grater. The zest produced from a microplane is very fine and small, so it’s perfect for topping on savory dishes or in sauces and vinaigrettes.