While we usually utilize the juice from a lemon, the peel also contains a lot of taste. So that none of that delicious fruit goes to waste, here’s how to use lemon zest. I don’t particularly appreciate squandering lemons. Lemon is bright and cheerful fruit, and I’m saddened by the prospect of all that sunshine being wasted.
What is Lemon Zest, and How do I Use it?
The flavedo, or outermost layer of the peel, is what lemon zest, or the zest of any citrus fruit, refers to. This layer is rich in natural oils that have a lot of flavors but aren’t as acidic as tart juice. Lemon zest is used to infuse intense levels of sweet, citrus flavor into a range of foods as a result of this.
Extract the Most Value from your Lemons
Regarding cooking and baking, lemons have two useful parts: the juice and the rind or zest. I frequently merely require the juice. Squeezing out the juice and seeing that new daffodil of peel poking out of the rubbish pail crushes my heart. As a result, I make certain that this never happens.
I always harvest the rind of a lemon before cutting it (unless the lemon is going into someone’s drink). Can you imagine being handed a pleasant beverage with a lemon wedge floating in it that hasn’t been peeled? Make sure the lemon is completely washed and dried before using it. Then I either grate it with a Microplane grater or remove long wisps with a paring knife (careful not to take the white pith along with the zest). Then I won’t have to worry about wasting the white husk when I juice the lemon.
What to do with Lemon Zest?
Make Pasta with it
Pasta and lemon zest are a match made in heaven. Everything from a basic seafood spaghetti sauce to a lemony chile “pesto” benefits from it. The idea is to add it immediately before serving to keep the flavors fresh. You may even grate it straight on each serving, just like Parm.
It’s great in baked goods. A small amount of citrus zein baked goods st goes a long way. A pinch or two, like salt, will bring out the particular tastes already there (like in these Apple Raspberry Crumb bars) or make a citrus-centric pastry, like lemon bars, really sing. For example, this Key Lime Pie would be one-note with simply lime juice, and the zeal seals the deal. You can add a tablespoon or two of lemon, lime, or orange zest to just about any sweet bread, muffin, scone, biscuit, or other baked good, even if the recipe doesn’t call for it.
Improve your Sauce
An impromptu pan sauce is a quick and easy way to jazz up plain grilled meats. It doesn’t take much, but it does need to be balanced. A smidgeon of fresh lemon zest cuts through the richness of the pan drippings and the intensity of the stock and wine. To avoid bitterness, add it in the last few minutes of cooking.
Make a Vinaigrette with More Color
If you’re making a vinaigrette at home (which you should be), why not add some citrus zest for an extra 30 seconds? You’re practically required if you’re using citrus zest instead of or in addition to vinegar. Before slicing into the fruit, don’t forget to zest it!
Increase the Size of your Bread Crumbs
Homemade bread crumbs are wonderful because you can season them yourself, and they taste fresher and chewier. Our favorite combination is a simple blend of olive oil, a hot oven, and a sprinkling of lemon zest.
Reduce the Fat Content of Fried Foods
Fried food can be quite filling (although it is always delicious). By sneaking some citrus zest into the batter, you can lighten it up (at least in terms of flavor). Everything tastes better with zest, from crab cakes to fritters to arancini, and this is true for sweet and savory foods.
Increase your Average Aioli or Mayonnaise
To balance off the rich, creamy, fatty-in-a-good-way aioli and mayo, add a splash of something fresh and light. Although we enjoy a nice homemade emulsified sauce, this method is especially useful for enhancing store-bought mayo and aioli.
Construct a Better Brine
This Lemon-Pepper Salt Rub proves it: infusing meat with zesty, vibrant flavor from the start is the finest way to elevate a roast chicken, steak, or roast from “excellent” to “please, more.”
What is the Purpose of Zesting a Lemon?
Lemon zest is one of my favorite baking ingredients, and it is incredibly adaptable and can be used in several sweets. Besides, zesting is one of the most effective techniques to extract the lemon’s intense lemony flavor. You’ll get a lot more taste from this than you will from juicing. The zest is the way to go when you want to add a zingy, sweet citrus taste to a dessert. As I previously stated, it has natural oils that enhance the flavor of various recipes.
Salads and marinades benefit from the addition of zest. Sometimes all you need is a smidgeon of something.
Freshly grated zest can also be sprinkled on frosted pastries, cakes, and cupcakes as a garnish.
Is it Safe to Zest a Citrus Fruit if it has Wax?
Citrus fruit has a natural wax coating that is washed away at the packing house along with orchard muck. Before packing, a new protective coating is frequently applied. This protects the fruit during transportation, gives it a lustrous appearance, reduces moisture loss, and increases the shelf life. Both natural and petroleum-based waxes are used, which is unfortunate. Choose organic lemons to avoid eating the waxes, and be sure to remove the wax coating off the citrus fruit before zesting.
Keep in mind that while not all unwaxed lemons are organic, they are all unwaxed. A new olive oil-based wax for organic fruit is being developed, although it has not yet been used.
What is the Best Way to Zest a Lemon?
First and foremost, we must select the appropriate lemons. Make an effort to utilize organic lemons wherever possible. Organic lemons are the safest bet because non-organic lemons may be coated with a questionable protective coating. Before using the zester, make sure the fruit is clean and dry.
Remove the wax layer from non-organic lemons first. It’s a piece of cake! Place the fruit in a colander and pour over hot water from a kettle that has recently been boiled, or rinse the fruit under a hot running tap (if you trust your tap water). Then, under a cool running faucet, clean the fruit with a stiff brush, such as a vegetable brush, but avoid using a dish brush or scouring a sponge, as this may cause soap residue to get on the fruit. Rinse the fruit completely with cold water and pat dry with paper towels, if desired.
I normally use the juice and the peel, grating them whole and without cutting them. You don’t want to zest four small lemon slices; a full lemon should be zested.
Avoid the bitter white layer that separates the colorful zest from the fruit while zesting.
A Microplane, zester, or vegetable peeler can be used.
Frozen Zest: How to Use it?
I never defrost the zest before using it, and it will preserve the fresh flavor it had before it was frozen. As a result, I may utilize it the same way as I would fresh zest. I like to overmeasure frozen zest slightly to account for any ice crystals. I measure 12 teaspoons of frozen lemon zest when a recipe calls for one teaspoon of fresh lemon zest.
What Can I Use Instead of Lemon Zest?
If you don’t have fresh lemons, various pantry goods will suffice. Because each substitution has a different amount of intensity, make sure you use the right ratio:
One teaspoon dried lemon peel = 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
12 tablespoons lemon extract = 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
Six tablespoons lemon juice = 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (adjust your recipe accordingly for excess liquid)
If you only want to use the lemon zest as a garnish, other citrus zests such as orange or lime can suffice.
What Exactly is Citrus Zest?
Citrus zest is a peel component; however, it is distinct from the peel or rind. The colored outer layer of the citrus peel is known as zest. Lime is green, lemons are yellow, and lemons are orange. Essential oils abound in the zest, giving it a rich, pleasant flavor. The pith is the soft, white component of the peel directly underneath the zest. The pith has a bitter taste, with little to no citrus flavor – it’s terrible!
A fine paring knife can be used to extract the citrus zest properly. However, using a Microplane or zester is the quickest and most successful technique to remove the citrus zest. For roughly $10 to $15, you can get these in the kitchen area of most stores or on Amazon.com.
What is the Difference Between Lemon Zest and Lemon Rind?
How to tell the difference between the lemon rind and zest has long perplexed bakers, as they appear to be used interchangeably at times. The thin, colorful outer layer of any citrus fruit’s skin is technically the zest. The zest and a small portion of the bitter white underlayer are included in the rind, but the peel is the entire jacket — everything except the meat. The most extensively used of the three is zest, which contains fragrant citrus oils. The rind is used when a more durable product is required, such as for boiling in stews and fruit compotes.
Although some pastries and relishes call for the whole ground fruit, the full peel is mainly used in marmalade.
All of this is “technically” correct because many recipe writers use the terms “rind” or “peel” when they mean “zest.” Make a decision based on the context: Zest is the way to go if you only need a small amount of the stuff to flavor something. Normally, it’s grated from the fruit’s side, but if you require a lot of thin strips (martinis for the masses), a piece of special zesting equipment may be found at kitchenware stores.
Why is Zest the Best for Enhancing the Flavor?
So, what is it about zest that makes it so unique? Why not just add some fruit or juice? This is because while baking in the oven, zest does not affect the chemistry of the dessert. For example, if you use lemon juice instead of a few tablespoons of lemon zest, the texture will be drastically different because the ingredients react differently.
The flavor notes of the zest and juice are also slightly different. Citrus zest is the pigmented component of the peel that contains the essential oils that give the fruit its bright, sweet flavor. The flavor of citrus juice is tart and acidic.
When isn’t Lemon Zest a Good Substitute?
If the recipe calls for a considerable amount of lemon zest (more than a couple of tablespoons), you should go to the market to get it. You’ll add too much liquid to the recipe if you replace a considerable amount of zest with lemon juice or extract, which will modify the consistency. Because the juice is acidic, it might react with the baking soda and powder, resulting in more air bubbles and a different texture.
While a modest quantity of lemon zest can be omitted entirely, the vivid surge of flavor it adds to a dish is unrivaled. There’s no reason to go without lemons because they keep so well. Place them in a sealed plastic bag (not the flimsy plastic bag from the supermarket) and keep them in the fridge for at least a month.
When life brings you lemons, create lemonade, we’ve all heard it said, but what do you do when life offers you lemon peel? Maybe you just finished making that batch of fresh lemonade or a few jars of lemon curd, and now you’re stuck with a pile of empty lemon rinds and don’t know what to do with them.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of uses for that lemon peel. Lemons are a versatile and frequently unexpected fruit; their peels are especially useful in the kitchen and around the house.