This March, we’re showing you everything you need to know about cooking with one of our favorite fruity treats: citrus. This content was created in partnership with Food52.
From quick breads to cocktails to pastas, it adds just enough brightness to cut through a dense cake or a rich, umami-laden stew. But with such a versatile ingredient, It’s important not to leave any flavor behind. Orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit, here’s the best way to zest your citrus, no matter which tools you have on hand:
In order not to lose the incredible flavor of the citrus’ oils, zest citrus directly into your mixing bowl, pan, plate, or glass rather than onto a cutting board or a sheet of parchment paper. The oils will get lost on those surfaces, and the zest that makes it into your recipe will ultimately be less potent.
As for tools, a Microplane is arguably the best way to zest your citrus. Its incredibly sharp rasp creates beautiful, fine shavings without penetrating the citrus’ bitter pith. To get the most out of your citrus, zest upwards, with the underside of the Microplane facing you. This way, the grater will trap and collect the shavings, preventing them from falling haphazardly onto countertops or losing their oils along the way. You can use a handheld grater in the same manner, though the blades may not be as fine; just be careful not to shave into the pith.
If you’re fancy enough to have a citrus zester, by all means use it. Zesters typically have fewer holes than handheld graters (about 5 or 6) and are best for making citrus curls for cocktails. On the other hand, if all you’re armed with is a paring knife, use it to peel the zest carefully away from the pith in thin strips, then use a chef’s knife to mince the zest finely.
Live.Love.Lux Tip: To get that ideal golden brown color without drying your cake, you can count on the convection technology in your Electrolux Wall Oven to distribute heat evenly – every time.
Photo by Mark Weinberg