When a recipe calls for a “zest” of a citrus fruit, it’s referring to the colorful outer part of the skin, not the inner white part, which is known as the pith. The zest contains all of the aromatic citrus oils and provides a hint of citrus tang to the recipe. A simple method of obtaining a fine zest is by rubbing the fruit against the smallest holes of a cheese grater.
Adding a little zest to your cooking can be an easy and effective way to bring out flavors and make your meals more delicious. Zest is the outermost layer of citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges, and is full of essential oils and natural flavors. By grating the zest and adding it to your dishes, you can infuse your food with a burst of tangy, aromatic flavor that complements and enhances the other ingredients. For example, a sprinkle of lemon zest can brighten up a bland pasta dish, while lime zest can add a zesty kick to grilled chicken or fish. Zest can also be used in desserts like cakes, pies, and tarts to give them a refreshing, citrusy twist.
Important Tips when Adding Zest to your Cooking
When adding zest to your cooking, it’s important to use a microplane or fine grater to avoid grating the bitter white pith that lies beneath the zest. You should also only use the zest of organic, unwaxed fruits that haven’t been treated with any chemicals or pesticides.
To get the most flavor out of your zest, it’s best to add it towards the end of the cooking process, as high heat can cause the oils to evaporate and lose their potency.