Have you detected my love for lemon by far? Who doesn’t love this citrusy tangy fruit that’s available all year round? It is so easy to use and there’s no waste. You can use the juice, rind (zest, and peel) for cooking and even throw the leftover into a pitcher jar for refreshing lemon water. I make nearly everything lemon, from cakes, muffins, macarons to savory dishes. So when I was making some Lemon Poppy Seed cupcakes, I thought hmm why not share with you how I zest my lemon.
Normally people would use a rasp grater like this to easily zest a fruit. It sure is a time saver and I used to use that all the time. But once I started chop my own zest using a knife, never reach back to that grater again. The reason? You get much more zest out of knife chopped rind, about double or even triple the amount. On top of that, the most important thing, the flavor is much more intense. When you rub the fruit against the grater, it crushes and tears, a lot of the juice and oil is lost in the air. When you chop the rind by a knife, it’s less damage hence more flavor. The only drawback, labor consuming which I think well worth it.
Here’s what you do. Choose the lemon with rough surface, which will yield more zest vs smooth surface, more juice. Get a kitchen pairing knife and thinly trim strips of grind off around the surface. Try not to cut any white skin off, it’s the bitter part. If you do, simply lay the inside up and clean it off.
Now julienne cut thin strips lengthwise, then turn the strips 90° and mince. All done!
See the difference? This pile of zest is just from 2 small strips of rind, so you really aren’t spending so much time though it might seem tedious. And apparently the zests are more clean cut compared to the grater zest all sticking together. You don’t smell as much flavor in the air which means it’s all saved in the zest itself. Are you ready to zest some lemon yourself?