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Grating Citrus

There are all kinds of ways that citrus can be used in cooking. Besides the obvious use of the fruit itself, there is also the peel of the citrus fruit. When you look at a recipe and it calls for a zest of lemon, lime, or orange, then this is exactly what it is asking for. The zest of a citrus fruit is in all actuality really just small pieces of the peel. But the trick lies in how to get those small pieces.

There are a few different pieces of equipment that you could use to help you properly zest a citrus fruit. Listed here are the different tools that you can use to get the zest, the results of using that type of tool, as well as the best way to use that tool. Remember, each of these tools is going to produce a different result, so when you come across a recipe for zest, be sure that you pay close attention to the description so you can use the proper tool to get the proper results.

  • Stripper. A type of grater designed to remove long thin strips of peel from citrus fruit. The result looks like...well, a strip of peel, hence the name. This tool is perfect for creating decorative garnishes or strips of peels for drinks and will cost you around $7.50.
  • Microplane grater. Available for as low as $12.00, this is the absolutely perfect tool for grating citrus and producing an extremely fine, almost fluffy result. When you are looking to add the taste of citrus to a dish, this is often the perfect way to do it since the resulting zest can be absorbed into the other ingredients much easier.
  • Zester. Simply put, a zester is the middle ground between a microplane grater and a box grater. This will produce larger shreds then you would get with a microplane, but nowhere near the size that you would get with a box grater. The shreds that are produced with this will be longer, and thicker than what you would get with a microplane grater. This piece of kitchen equipment will set you back about $6.99.
  • Box grater. Traditionally designed for use on such food items as cheese, these items can produce results that range in size from coarse and very large to small and very fine. Use this tool only as a last resort, though. Since this tool was designed for use on a different type of food item, it is extremely easy to go too deep and actually cut into the meat of the fruit itself.

Whichever tool you use to get your zest, there is something that you will need to be careful with. When you are pressing down on the grater, zester, or stripper, make sure that you don't press too hard. This will ensure that you do not go too far into the rind and that way you will only get the colored part which is what you are after. Press too hard, and at the very least you will end up with the white pith (which is no good) or, worse yet, the actual meat of the fruit itself.


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Comments for this tip:

Anna    05 Dec 2013, 03:06
Microwaving citrus fruits on maximum for 10 seconds increases the amount of juice extracted when squeezing.

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