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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Question:What is the lemon zest and a lemon zester ?

Question:What is the lemon zest and a lemon zester ? Are there different kinds of zesters and how and what ways are they used? What kinds of recipes can be used?

Many recipes call for grated zest or peel. These zests provide an intense active flavoring to the food or recipe. For example 1 medium lemon equals approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. You can buy zest at your local food stores. But the foodstuff is not fresh and has lost the flavoraful oils. Why not make your own?

Lemon Zest is the outermost part of the rind of an orange, lemon, or other citrus fruit are pretty but these can be used in other ways. The zest can be used for flavoring with many recipes.

First get a lemon, lime, orange whatever the recipes call for . The zests are part of the citrus fruits outer covering. On a lemon, the zest is the yellow part of the peel on the outside of a lemon. It has an intense lemon/citrus flavor. There is a hint of bitterness. The bitterness is usually found in the white part of the lemon. When removing the skin from lemons or other citrus fruits, use ONLY the thin outer zest or colored yellow part. If you remove some white, you have "gone too far". You will get a bitter taste which is not what you want.

Lemon Zester tool can remove the zest of a lemon in long strips. Tiny holes cut and create thin threadlike strips of peel. A vegetable peeler or a small, sharp knife like instrument is okay to use if you don't have a zester.

A Lemon Grater is a finer way of grating the outer part of the peel.

I also found more information about lemons that I did not know.


I know about lemons. I knew that sailors used citrus fruits to combat the illness scurvy. However I did not know they added rum to the lemon.

(1) Room-temperature lemons or limes will give more juice than the refrigerated ones. So I think the best way is to let them rest on the counter for awhile before using.

(2) Microwaving the lemon or lime for a few seconds before squeezing will help give more juice.

(3) Use your palm to roll lemon or lime around on the countertop a few times before squeezing. (I have done this before but I got out of the habit. A hand is a very versatile tool).

(4) Just need a few drops? This recommended site says to "pierce the skin with a toothpick and squeeze out what you need. To store it, reinsert the toothpick, put the lemon or lime into a plastic bag, and refrigerate." ( I need to do that. Frequently I just left the lemon in the crisper instead of in a plastic bag that I usually use for onions and other veggies and fruits).

Lemons are an interesting fruit. Here is more information about making lemon zest about these yellow fruits.


You can also see how to make and use zest in this video by a chef for sweet potato pone in this video cooking class on traditional Southern recipes.


Here is a simple dish that uses zest

Pasta with Basil, Tomatoes & Lemon Zest
4 big ripe tomatoes (1-1/2 lbs), coarsely chopped
zest from 1/2 lemon (yellow part only, none of the white) in 1-inch slivers
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 teaspoon salt
black pepper, freshly ground
spaghetti to serve

1. Put a tiny pot of water on the stove to boil while you start to chop the vegetables.
2. When it comes to the boil, blanch the lemon zest for a few seconds - then drain.
3. Mix together in a large bowl all ingredients EXCEPT the spaghetti. Let it sit for 1 to 4 hours, giving it a stir now and then.

4. When you are ready to eat, cook the pasta according to the package directions, as usual, drain, and add it to the tomato mix. Toss. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately.

Do you have a favorite dish that uses zest? send it to me and I will post it on my blog.

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