How to CookKitchen Hacks

A Trick for Zesting Citrus

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: A Food52 heirloom trick, for you and yours, to make all your citrus recipes better.

A Trick for Zesting Citrus

We learn our best tips from those we cook with. And such is the case with this citrus zesting trick -- the one that will make your pies zippier, your salad dressings brighter, your kitchen cleaner. And the one that will give you something to show off at dinner parties. (What, you don’t do that?) 

I learned this from Kristen, who learned it from Merrill. It’s an heirloom trick, in that way, passed down and kept in the Food52 test kitchen.

A Trick for Zesting Citrus from Food52

But no more. Now it's yours to share: The next time you zest any kind of citrus, zest upwards, with the underside of the microplane or grater facing you. Why is this better than what you’re doing now? Because instead of a flailing rainstorm of zest on your counter, you’re collecting and confining the zest. And more importantly, you’re not losing its precious, citrusy oils to a cutting board, or your hands, or whatever surface you’d otherwise zest onto. Instead, they’re in that pie, or that dressing. They’re where they should be. 

If your recipe doesn’t call for a specific measurement, you’d do well to zest directly into your mixing bowl. If it does, carefully slide the zest off of your grater, directly into your measuring vessel. 

A Trick for Zesting Citrus from Food52

Now pay it forward, and hand this trick on. 

Have any citrus widsom to share? Tell us in the comments! 

Photos by James Ransom 

Tags: Citrus, Tips & Techniques, Kitchen Confidence