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How to zest a fruit?


How to zest a fruit?
You will have no doubt noticed that many recipes call for the zest of citrus fruit. The zest is that outer layer of the skin which adds so much flavour to a dish.

There are many different ways to peel off the zest and various tools are available. Here is a summary of the “dos and don'ts” of zesting.
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Last modified on: November 5th 2013

Keywords for this post:ZestZisteZesterGraterFruitCitrusSkinPeel
How to zest a fruit?

Good fruits


First and foremost: zesting a fruit means removing the upper, outer part of the rind, which also happens to be the part that receives most of the chemical treatment inflicted on the fruit.

zester


So be careful: you absolutely must wash the fruit thoroughly before zesting it, but the best thing to do is to use organic fruit, which is guaranteed to be untreated.

The right part of the fruit


The part of the peel that can be zested is generally very thin, 1 millimetre or less, so it's very important to remove only the coloured part of the peel - the zest - and not the white part underneath, which is not zest but a major source of bitterness, to be avoided at all costs!

zestes


In this photo, you can see the zest on the right and the white part of the peel on the left.

The right tools


There are a number of more or less effective tools for zesting:

zester zester


1) The peeler or a sharp knife: with it, you delicately "peel" the fruit and obtain small strips of zest (colored, remember: no white) which you then have to cut into strips, then into tiny pieces. It's not very fast, nor very efficient, but it works.



zester zester


2) The zester: this is a strangely-shaped knife that zests by making tiny filaments. The structure of the zester means that you can't remove any white parts, which is interesting. The only drawback is that the zest obtained is a little "crushed" and "exuded", so it's not great.



zester zester


3) The zester grater: This is a bit like a cheese grater, very fine, on which you rub the fruit while rotating it (be careful, it's the fruit that moves, not the grater).
It's by far the most efficient of all tools, and you can find out more about it on this page.


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