I vaguely remember reading that putting plastic wrap , or maybe waxed paper on the grater to easily remove the zest. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Use the finer holes. Alternatively, invest in a Microplane, which will change your life. Yes, zest sticks. But much less will stick to a Microplane.
I agree about buying a Microplane. It is a great kitchen tool--works well for Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, etc., and takes up less space.
But, yes, until you get the fantastic microplane, wrap a piece of plastic wrap around your grater.
Clicking "I agree" on all these responses wont be enough to stress the solution.. I need to say it too.Please get a Microplane.
I adore my Microplanes, but lately I've switched back to that small hand tool with little holes on the end known as a zester for citrus zest. The resulting zest has more body and bite -- a Microplane creates citrus fluff.
You specify coarse for the grater -- my experience includes microplane, the single purpose zester, and the box grater, and I prefer the microplane. I believe the purpose of using zest is to release the essential oils of the citrus into the food you are preparing. If you need coarse bits of skin of the fruit, use a peeler (old fashioned potato peeler), then chop it up. This is good for syrups or puddings where you steep the peel in hot liquid.
I've had a similar problem, but mine was when I used the side of my box grater that's meant for zesting. I found it all just clumped up and because the holes are so close to each other, its impossible to wipe it up. My solution (because I'm too cheap to buy a microplane) was to zest the fruit on bigger holes and then mince that zest with my chef's knife. It's actually pretty easy to do it this - the benefit, in my opinion, is that I would ALWAYS cut my fingers on the zesting holes, but the bigger ones are easier on me.