Want to easily add a bright, sophisticated flavor to your desserts, main meals, appetizers, and breakfasts? Consider cooking with zest, the grated or minced flavorful outer part of the peel of such citrus fruits as lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, blood oranges, clementines, and grapefruits.
To do this, lightly grate the outer surface of the fruit peel just enough to release all the wonderful flavor of the aromatic oils contained in the top layer of the fruit peel. (Just take care not to grate into the white pith of the fruit itself, which is usually bitter.)
Best of all, cooking with and flavoring your meals with zest is a great way to make the most of the peels left over when you make fresh squeezed juice for such quenching beverages as lemonade, limeade, orange juice, lemon iced tea, or fruit infused flavored water as well as such savory dishes as lemon chicken and orange pork.
There are many ways to remove the zest from fruit, including using a microplane, zester, a grater, or even a vegetable peeler. If I don’t have a microplane handy, I’ll either use a grater with small holes, or using a vegetable peeler, I’ll remove the zest in strips, then mince or slice it into fine shreds.
Have a large amount of leftover fruit zest that you don’t need to use right away? You can find out how to easily freeze lemon (or any other kind of zest) here.
As you can see below, lemon zest is an extremely popular and versatile ingredient in recipes that benefit from its bright but not overwhelming citrus flavor. However, in many cases, you can substitute (or combine) the zest from such fruits with edible peels as limes, oranges, tangerines, blood oranges, clementines, and grapefruit instead, so feel free to experiment.
Cooking with zest is an easy to learn, yet highly rewarding addition to your collection of culinary skills that can help you take your soups, salads, main dishes, baked goods, desserts, and even beverages to the next level.
- Pomegranate-Infused Ginger Chicken With Sesame Scallion Dumplings Recipe (Uses Orange Zest)
- Sesame Coconut Cod in Asian Taco Shells Recipe (Uses Lime Zest)
- Sherry-Braised Hollywood Pork Rib Sandwiches With Raisins and Olives Recipe (Uses Orange Zest)
- Cucumber, Apple, & Spinach Salad With Curried Pecans and Lemony Coriander Dressing Recipe (Uses Lemon Zest)
- Lamb and Date Skewers With Lemon Zest Red Lentil Couscous Recipe (Uses Lemon Zest)
- Pork and Shrimp Cabbage Rolls With Butter Poached Shrimp Recipe (Uses Lemon Zest)
- Shrimp, Braised Fennel, & Apricot Medallions With Cilantro Pomegranate Tartar Sauce (Uses Lemon Zest)
- Moroccan Charbroiled Lamb & Fennel Stew with 7 Seed Couscous Recipe (Uses Lemon Zest)
- Firecracker Chutney Recipe (Uses Orange Zest)
- Slow-Roasted Shoulder of Lamb, Rubbed with Rosemary, Anchovy, and Lemon Zest from Chocolate and Zucchini
- Michael Romano and Danny Meyer’s Hashed Brussels Sprouts With Lemon Zest Recipe from The Wednesday Chef
- Pan Seared, Oven Roasted Freshwater Bass With Meyer Lemon Zest and Capers Recipe from Christine Cooks
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